Being low in calories and high in nutritional value is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health benefits of beet root. Athletes around the world supplement with beet root juice and powder because it is believed to improve endurance, stamina and energy. Here’s what the science says.
Beet root is packed with nitrates which promotes an increase in the level of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide contributes to many important functions one of the main ones being relaxing the walls of blood vessels and allowing vasodilation (expansion of the vessels) which ultimately means that more blood can reach the heart, brain and other organs.(1)
One study found that athletes that supplemented with beet root juice observed “ergogenic effects” on their endurance meaning they were able to enhance physical performance, stamina and recovery.(2) Beet root juice has been shown to extend time to exhaustion during exercise resulting in an increase in performance. One study based on competitive cycling times showed a 2.8% increase in performance output.(3)
Along with improving physical performance, beet root can boost brain health. (4) Decrease in blood flow often precedes a decrease in cognitive function with age is. Beet root promotes an increase in blood flow to the brain and may reduce the progression of cognitive decline with age. These studies were performed on young subjects so more research is required to confirm this effect in elderly populations. (5)
The physical benefits of beet root make it the perfect natural supplement for athletes trying to improve endurance, stamina and energy. The additional advantages of anti-inflammatory and positive brain and heart effects make it so that anyone can benefit from beet root.
(1)(2)Domínguez, Raúl, Eduardo Cuenca, José Maté-Muñoz, Pablo García-Fernández, Noemí Serra-Paya, María Estevan, Pablo Herreros, and Manuel Garnacho-Castaño. "Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review."Nutrients 9, no. 1 (2017): 43. doi:10.3390/nu9010043.
(3)Blackhall, M., E. Burke-Polden, and J. Walls. "Dietary Nitrate Supplementation Improves Time to Fatigue in Maximal Cycling Performance."Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 16 (2013). doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2013.10.089.
(4)(5)Clifford, Tom, Glyn Howatson, Daniel West, and Emma Stevenson. "The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease."Nutrients 7, no. 4 (2015): 2801-822. doi:10.3390/nu7042801.