Healthy living

Beetroot juice boosts stamina

Beetroot juice boosts stamina Allows you to exercise for longer

Drinking beetroot juice boosts stamina when exercising and helps you exercise for up to 16 per cent longer, new research has found.

Previous research carried out at the University of Exeter found that drinking beetroot juice helped boosted stamina, allowing study volunteers to exercise for longer.

However, now the researchers have shown for the first time that nitrate contained in beetroot juice lowers oxygen uptake when exercising, making it less tiring.

The findings may be of interest to endurance athletes, but may also be relevant to elderly people or those with cardiovascular, respiratory or metabolic diseases.

In the study, eight men aged between 19 and 38 were given 500ml per day of organic beetroot juice for six consecutive days before completing a series of tests, involving cycling on an exercise bike.

On another occasion, the men repeated the tests but were given blackcurrant cordial to drink instead.

The group that drank the beetroot juice had raised blood nitrate levels, and were able to exercise for 16 per cent longer, as well as having lower resting blood pressure.

Although the researchers don't know the exactly how the nitrate in beetroot juice boosts stamina, they suspect it may be due to the nitrate turning into nitric oxide in the body, reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.

Professor Andy Jones from the School of Sport and Health Sciences at the university said: “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, including training.

"I am sure professional and amateur athletes will be interested in the results of this research. I am also keen to explore the relevance of the findings to those people who suffer from poor fitness and may be able to use dietary supplements to help them go about their daily lives.”

The findings are published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

This article was published on Fri 21 May 2010

Image © Prashant ZI -

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