Several studies conducted on athletes have shown a decrease in oxygen demand during exercise and an improvement in performance in endurance sports.
The athletes test all kinds of culinary proposals within their diet with the idea of improving their performance in the face of a test, and one seems to be gaining strength in the last decade: the beet juices. But Why? Its high nitrate content appears to be the key to achieving a more satisfactory outcome while exercising. What is the role of science in all this?
Let’s Start first by clarifying what is inorganic nitrate (NO3-). This is added to the cured and processed meats to prolong their expiration and give them that characteristic pink tone. We can Also find it naturally in spinach, arugula and beets. Several studies in the last decade have put the eye on the nitrates of these vegetables improve athletic performance and even improve cardiovascular health in adults.
In 2007, the exercise physiologist Andrew Jones, of the British University of Exmat, showed interest in a study published in Acta Physiologica. In It, Swedish researchers claimed that 3 days of supplementation with sodium nitrate in nine cyclists and triathletes favored the reduction of the demand of oxygen. Usually, this one remains fixed, so a short-term intervention to change that need was something unusual. Therefore, he investigated on his own this fact, but centering in natural sources rich in nitrates, such as beets.
His study was reported in Journal of Applied Physiology, but this time, instead of taking it as a supplement, 8 athletes drank nitrates in natural form through half a liter of beet juice. They Had to take it for six days. Next to them, another group did the same thing, but with black currant juice, which has negligible amounts of nitrates. After a 10-day break, the groups were exchanged and the results in terms of resistance and oxygen demand were more evident in those who took the beets the last few days. The blood nitrate concentration was almost double, its blood pressure was reduced and the amount of oxygen consumed decreased by 19%. In fact, they were pressured to exercise for longer, and despite the exhaustion, his body responded favorably.