This year’s Olympics might not be won on ability alone. According to a new study, beetroot might hold the key to enhancing athletic performance.
(Photo via photostock)
Daily Mail reports the recent study consisted of 11 male and female volunteers of good health who were asked to run two separate 5-kilometer runs on a treadmill. A portion of the group were given baked beetroot prior to their first run, and then given cranberry relish prior to the second run. Both cranberry relish and beetroot are calorically similar, but the relish lacks the nitrates of the beetroot.
On average, the speed of the runners who ate the beetroot was half a kilometer per hour faster than when they were fed the cranberry relish.
The most significant increase was during the last kilometer of the run. Beetroot runners increased their speed over relish runners by 5 percent.
This is the second study to have proven the endurance- and performance-enhancing qualities of beetroot. Previously, experts at University of Exeter and the Peninsula Medical School, did a study examining the effects of beetroot juice on cyclists. They performed two separate tests comparing beetroot juice to blackcurrant cordial.
Overall, the cyclists’ endurance increased by 19 percent during both trials when given beetroot juice to drink an hour prior to exercise.
Scientists believe the performance enhancement comes from the large amount of nitrates in beetroot. The nitrates cause vascular widening, allowing better blood flow through the body, and thus oxygenating cells faster and longer.
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