How nutritious is beetroot?
This unique purple vegetable is packed with a range of vitamins and minerals making it a nutritious and healthy snack.
Beetroot is particularly high in fibre which is good for digestion and complaints such as constipation. Fibre helps to solidify the stool, for example, so that it passes more easily.1
Another notable feature of beetroot is its iron content. Iron helps to transport oxygen throughout the body and, without sufficient levels, we can be left feeling tired and low in energy.
Manganese and potassium are also present in beetroot. These have a range of roles within the body including those relating to muscle contraction, fluid balance and bone health.
As well as all of this, beetroot contains carbohydrates, vitamin C and B vitamins.
Do beetroots help muscle recovery?
Multiple studies suggest that beetroot may help to speed up muscle recovery after a workout.2 One such study was undertaken by the University of Northumbria. Here, researchers recruited 28 active men between the ages of 18 and 28 and measured the impact of beetroot juice after they had completed 100 drop jumps.3
The men were given beetroot juice of varying strengths (one was made up of 250ml beetroot juice, another was 150ml of juice and 250ml of water, another was a placebo which matched the calorific and carbohydrate content of beetroot juice) 24, 48 and 72 hours after completing the drop jumps.
Those given the strongest beetroot juice reported the least muscle soreness in the period after exercise, however, even those who drank the reduced concentrate beetroot juice saw some improvement to muscle soreness.
On top of this, those who took the pure beetroot juice jumped 18% higher in the days after taking the drink. This suggests that beetroot juice can aid both recovery time and performance.
To reach this conclusion, researchers tested thigh and calf muscles. These are also used in activities like running, cycling and walking which suggests that beetroot juice may also be of benefit to people participating in these sports.
How does beetroot help the muscles?
Exercise can lead to inflammation and muscle soreness, particularly when an individual is new to an activity or they don’t allow their body sufficient recovery time.
Beetroot can help in this instance as it contains nitrates and betalains. These have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties but, in addition, nitrates can increase oxygen levels in the bloodstream which further aids muscle recovery.
Does beetroot boost sporting performance?
As well as aiding recovery time after exercise, the nitrates found in beetroot may also improve circulation and muscle function because nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the body.
That’s not the only way beetroot can improve sporting performance though. The vegetable also contains carbohydrates and sugars that provide an energy boost and improve stamina levels.
If you’d like to try eating a little more beetroot either before or after a workout, you can explore our food hub for different recipes. Our beetroot breadsticks are a simple, tasty option but, alternatively, you can mix up a little Biotta Beetroot Juice into a smoothie for a snack you can take on the go!