Does beetroot improve athletic performance?


Louise Baillie
Fitness Enthusiast
@AVogelUK
Ask Louise


03 May 2019

How does beetroot juice help athletic performance?

Paralympian David Weir is said to take a shot of beetroot juice before a race to help boost his standard of racing.1 It isn’t just the professionals, however, that are turning to this ingredient to improve their sporting performance. In recent years, UK supermarkets have seen a dramatic increase in the number of beetroot-based products sold which suggests the nation as a whole looks to benefit from this superb ingredient.2 

When it comes to athletic performance, there are a number of ways in which beetroot could prove useful. It contains nitrates, for example, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. This helps to dilate the blood vessels and, in turn, increases blood flow to the working muscles.

A study by Exeter University emphasises these positive effects as researchers found that athletes who drank beetroot juice before a race shed 2% off their running time. To compare results, this study also included a control group who drank beetroot juice with the nitrates removed. It was found that this group ran slower than those drinking pure beetroot juice.4  

As well as this, evidence suggests that beetroot juice can help improve stamina levels and energy production in athletes carrying out sub-maximal intensity exercise.

Beetroot – what are the options?

As beetroot has lots of benefits to offer the sporting (and, indeed, the non-sporting community) you may be looking for new ways to include a little more in your diet. You may be most familiar with pickled, persevered beetroot but there are so many more options than this!

Beetroot-based snacks 

Over on our recipe hub we have a range of snacks that feature beetroot as the main ingredient. A few popular options include pink beetroot houmous, beetroot bread sticks, tangy beet slaw and beetroot chips with feta dip.

Biotta Beetroot juice 

Made from organic beetroots and with no additives or preservatives, Biotta’s Beetroot Juice is natural and healthy. The drink can be mixed into a smoothie for a delicious pre-workout snack! 

My Top Tip:

 

Biotta’s Beetroot Juice is made from 100% organic, pressed beetroots, it has no additives or preservatives and is not from concentrate. 

As well as helping to improve sporting performance, beetroot juice supports blood pressure, it helps to manage circulation and it may even fight colds and flu!

 

Find out more about Biotta's range. 

 

Beetroot meals

Looking for something a little bit different to try? Our beetroot and radish soup or roasted beetroot with garden herbs and orzo pasta will help you get more of this tasty vegetable. 

Biotta apple, beetroot and ginger juice 

This drink makes a good alternative to plain beetroot juice as it is a little sweeter in taste. It is made from organic apple, beetroot and ginger with a hint of lemon for added freshness. 

Need more info? 

Follow our guide to cooking beetroot or, if you are really adventurous, try growing your own!

Other benefits of beetroot

If you do decide to include a little more beetroot in your diet, as you will soon see, it has more than just sporting benefits to offer.

First of all, beetroot is excellent for our digestion. That’s because it contains fibre which improves bowel function and eases constipation. On top of this, it also contains glutamine (an amino acid) which is essential to the health of the intestinal tract.

As I already mentioned, beetroot juice is rich in nitrates which are converted into nitric oxide (NO) in the body. NO helps to dilate the blood vessels and increase blood flow throughout the body thus helping circulation.

Finally, as a result of the high nitrate7 and potassium8 content, beetroot juice is thought to help gently balance blood pressure thus demonstrating yet another positive feature of this tasty vegetable!  

References

1 https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/sep/10/david-weir-secret-beetroot-juice  

2 https://www.mirror.co.uk/science/britain-experiencing-beetroot-boom-because-10270013  

3 Fluek LJ, et al. Poster abstract. European College of Sports Science, annual congress 24-27 June, Malmo, Sweden.

4 https://www.exeter.ac.uk/ref2014/impact/lifesciences/beetroot/ 

5 Muggeridge, D.J., et al. 2014, 46(1) (143-150) 

6 Bailey, S.J, et al. J Appl Physiol, 2009, 107(4) (1144-1155) 

7 Hobbs, D.A., et al. Br. J. Nutr. 2012, 108(11) (2066-2071)

8 Ophir, O, et al. Am J Clin Nutr, 1983, 37(5), (755-762)

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