Athletes are beginning to use beetroot juice more and more, but why? Beetroot juice is high in nitrates.
Nitrates when eaten get turned into nitric oxide which acts as a messenger to make the blood vessels expand. This explanation means that more blood can flow to the muscles and organs.
It also plays a role in contracting muscles and activity of cells. There is more evidence being reported that increasing the available nitric oxide to the body can enhance performance. It has however been reported more in sub maximal sports such as endurance sports and cycling where vo2 max isn’t reached. They have no research yet in team sports or lifting.
The doses that have been found to show effect is 300mg (one cup of vegetables rich in nitrates, celery, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, turnip). Eating this much food before a race wouldn’t be high on an athletes mind but beetroot juice has a higher concentration of nitrates
This is an emerging area – so watch this space.