Thursday, 27 August 2009

Beet the competition!

Beetroot juice boosts endurance!
Infinit does not believe in magic ingredients or outrageous claims; athletes succeed when they train hard and smart. But recently they noticed a University of Exeter study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology that revealed drinking beetroot juice improves athletic stamina and is capable of reducing fatigue. After six days of consuming 500ml of this potent elixir, people could exercise for up to 16 per cent longer. So they got on the phone to Andy Jones at Exeter Uni to learn more. Andy reports that they discovered a significant movement in numbers after around 5 days of beetroot juice consumption. Why? Beetroot juice, better known for turning your pee red or helping fight cancer, is high in nitrates. Andy believes that the high nitrate levels are responsible for stamina improvement, since those h! igher levels have previously been linked with reducing blood pressure.

What does this mean to you? Their initial conclusions suggest that:

* Nitrate-rich food will help you perform faster, longer and stronger
* Root and/or green vegetables provide a natural source of nitrate
* Athletes should "load" for 6 days before a big race or training camp
* After a few days the effects wear offbut your training or performance results while you were "under the influence" obviously remain

The downside? Nitrates have been linked to cancer, both when added to meat and in vegetables grown with nitrate fertilizer. This may seem surprising, considering beetroot's traditional position as a healthful food for cancer patients. The natural coloring chemical anthocyanin is often given credit for the anti-carcinogenic properties. So don't go wild and drink massive doses of nitrates every day at least not until more is known.
They would recommend a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables with a few loading periods for key times in your season. No evidence thus far has led to the conclusion that consuming beetroot while exercising will make you faster; the difference comes during and immediately after the "loading" period. Stay tuned, though I don't doubt that scientists are looking further at this wonder plant, and we may know more soon!

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