What do you know about beetroot? Some of you may know this vegetable simply as beets, the deep red vegetable that is often used in soups and juices. What you may not know is that beets are a super-rich source of antioxidants, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C. Beets are also a good source of betaine, which is important for cardiovascular health.
Beetroot Juice as a Superfood
Studies have shown that beets, particularly the juice, is not only an impressive source of potent antioxidants, but it can also have a measurable impact on athletic performance. Specifically, increased stamina during cardiovascular exercise.
The University of Exeter research team conducted a study with eight men, all whom were between the ages of 19 and 38. The men were given 500 ml of organic beetroot juice for six consecutive days before completing athletic testing (performed on a stationary bike). On a different occasion, also for six consecutive days, the same group was given blackcurrant as a placebo before doing the same cycling tests. After drinking the beetroot juice the men were able to cycle for an average of 11.25 minutes, this was 92 seconds longer than when they were given the placebo. The group also had lower resting blood pressure.
Professor Andy Jones of University of Exeter’s School of Sport and Health Sciences says, “Our study is the first to show that nitrate-rich food can increase exercise endurance. We were amazed by the effects of beetroot juice on oxygen uptake because these effects cannot be achieved by any other known means.”
The researchers suspect it is a result of the nitrate turning into Nitric Oxide in the body, thus reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.
Simply put, beet juice appears to boost your stamina, helping you exercise for longer periods of time. While this is a wonderful possibility, it’s unlikely that the average gym trainee would relish the thought of consuming beetroot juice prior to each workout. That being said, there is an effective alternative which is also backed by sound scientific research – enter, Arginine.
L-Arginine: NOS Superstar
Arginine is the immediate precursor of Nitric Oxide, and is necessary for the synthesis of creatine. It is a semi-essential amino acid that is produced in the liver and can be found in protein-rich foods. Various medical research shows that supplementing with 5 grams of Arginine three times daily, offers an abundance of health benefits:
- Precursor for synthesis of Nitric Oxide – Increases Vasodilation
- Increases the release of HGH (human growth hormone)
- Improves muscle performance
- Helps counteract inflammation
- Lowers blood pressure in some hypertension patients
These are just a few of the benefits of supplementing with Arginine. So, if you’re looking to increase your performance at the gym, on the field, or at your next competition, try supplementing with Arginine.
- University of Exeter. “Beetroot Juice Boosts Stamina, New Study Shows.” ScienceDaily 7 August 2009. 30 November 2010 <http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/08/090806141520.htm>.