Can beetroot enhance your performance?
Type ‘boost exercise performance’ into your search engine. Scour the internet for just a few moments and you’ll find dozens of supplements claiming to shave minutes off your run time or have you lifting double your usual weight at the gym. Sadly, many of these are simply nutrition urban myths, lacking little scientific evidence to back them up. There is one however, that sounds like a myth but is in fact strongly supported by research - and that supplement is beetroot. Supporting athletes in my work, I have seen the benefits of beetroot supplementation first-hand. So, let’s take a look at how it really can boost your performance...
How does beetroot improve performance?
Beetroot contains high levels of nitrates, chemicals which are converted to nitrous oxide in the body; nitrous oxide supports vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels), improving blood flow and aiding the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles during both endurance and high-intensity exercise (1). This in turn can prevent muscle fatigue and help you to perform more effectively for a longer period of time. For example, a double-blind randomised controlled trial conducted on male recreational sports players demonstrated a 19% improvement in weight lifted, and an improved number of reps, in those supplementing with beetroot juice compared to a placebo (2).
In what form should I consume beetroot, and how much should I take?
In most studies, around 300-400mg nitrates seems to be an effective dose. However, this would be the equivalent of eating at least 200g beetroot before your workout! As such, around 500ml of beetroot juice is usually used instead. Not a fan of beetroot? You can increase your consumption of nitrates by including more green leafy vegetables in your diet, such as spinach, kale, watercress and cabbage (3).
Is there anything else I can do to improve my performance?
Of course! While the consumption of beetroot juice can aid performance, no amount of supplementation can replace a healthy diet, exercise and wellbeing regime. Be sure to allow yourself adequate rest between sessions and nourish yourself with balanced meals both pre and post workout (for some tips on refuelling after your workout, head over to this article REFUEL POST WORKOUT). Finally, you may wish to consider adding an anti-inflammatory supplement to your routine to help reduce exercise-induced inflammation to aid your recovery.
DEFLAME contains high-quality omega-3, curcumin and ginger, all powerful ingredients well-known for their anti-inflammatory effects. To read more about DEFLAME, head over here.
1. Domínguez et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2018) 15:2
2. Mosher SL, Sparks SA, Williams EL, Bentley DJ, McNaughton LR. Ingestion of a nitric oxide enhancing supplement improves resistance exercise performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2016;30:3520–4.
3. Anita Bean. 2016. Beetroot juice - how much and when? Available at: https://anitabean.co.uk/beetroot-juice-how-much-and-when/ (Accessed: 3rd February 2021)