Some explosively powerful rugby players have touted drinking beet juice before a workout or a game for its energy-boosting effects based on the widely-held opinion that consuming beet juice improves blood flow in muscles.
Beetroot is known for being a rich dietary source of antioxidants and for its high nitrate content but is been juicing really the miracle super-juice athletes believe it to be?
David Proctor, a professor of kinesiology and physiology at Penn State decided to put beet juice to test and research if ingesting the juice does enhance blood flow to exercising muscles.
Proctor, with other researchers, found that the widely held belief regarding improved muscle blood flow did not hold up to their test. They report their results in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. (Source: news.psu.edu)
Don’t give up on beet juicing just yet.
Other beet juice consumption research which measured time-to-muscle exhaustion indicative of enhanced physical endurance found that 500mL of beetroot juice reduced muscle fractional oxygen extraction 19% while increasing the time-to-muscle exhaustion by 15.7%, meaning that the beet juice subjects delayed their muscle exhaustion. (Source: pubmed/19661447)
Beet juicing could prove to be a powerful ally when participating in a highly-competitive rugby game where outlasting your opponent is the key to winning the game. The Penn State study reports they observed a direct correlation between nitrite levels in the blood and the slowing of participants’ arterial pulsation velocity, an indication that beet juice did indeed have a biological effect. (Source: news.psu.edu)
How much beet juice should you use?
Athletes have reported drinking up to 2 cups of beet juice on a heavy endurance workout day. However, it is wise to start small and test for yourself. Good advice is to start with one shot and build up from there. Some athletes hate the taste of beet juice so they add beet juice to their morning juicing regimen combined with their favorite berries to mask the beet flavor. Others have experienced “digestive issues” when first drinking raw beet juice which is why it is best to start small and increase your consumption amount over time.
Remember: NEVER start anything new on a game day no matter how much another player tells you that it will help.
Have you tried adding beet juice to your workout regimen? What have you experienced? Let me know in the comments.
Keep pushing your goals-
REMEMBER: Before starting any new exercise or nutrition routines, please check with your medical provider and clear your new exercise plan with them before beginning. This is especially true if you haven’t been exercising for some time or are recovering from an injury. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on T.V.
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