Saturday, October 2, 2010

Beetroot juice boosts stamina

LONDON - SOME experts say adding beetroot juice to your diet - like other foods such as cherry juice or milk - could provide a performance boost even beyond the blood, sweat and tears of more training.

In two studies conducted at Exeter University on 15 men, Stephen Bailey and colleagues found cyclists who drank a half-litre (about a half-quart) of beetroot juice several hours before setting off were able to ride up to 20 per cent longer than those who drank a placebo blackcurrant juice.

By examining the cyclists under a scanner that analyses how much energy is needed for a muscle to contract, Mr Bailey and colleagues discovered beetroot juice allows cyclists to exercise using less oxygen than normal.

'The beetroot juice was effective even without any additional training,' Mr Bailey said. 'It reduces the energy requirements on your muscles so you can last longer.' While the beetroot juice was provided free by its manufacturer, Exeter University paid for the research.

Mr Bailey said the high nitrate content of beetroot juice is responsible for its athletic benefits. Scientists aren't exactly sure how it works, but suspect having more nitric oxide in your body, a byproduct of nitrate, helps you exercise with less oxygen.

Mr Bailey said the same effects might be possible if people ate more nitrate-rich foods like beetroot, lettuce or spinach. -- AP

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