How important are beetroots for athletes?

IMPORTANCE OF BEETROOT FOR ATHLETES

Andrea Fernandes


Athletes use various nutritional supplements to improve their athletic performance. Beetroot is a nutrient-rich vegetable with quite a few health benefits attached to it. It contains the following vitamins & minerals like Vitamins A, B, and C; folic acid, antioxidants like beta-carotene and beta-cyanine; iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and fiber. Beetroots are also packed with nitrates.

The nitrogen-containing colored pigments present in beetroot are known as betalains. Betalains work both as anti-oxidants & anti-inflammatories and are of two color types: Beta-xanthins, which are yellow in color and Beta-cyanins, which are vibrant red/violet in color.

Few studies have indicated that vegetables high in nitrate promote improved health and athletic performance. Beetroot juice basically increases the levels of nitric oxide (NO), which serves multiple functions like increased blood flow, gas exchange, strengthening of muscle contraction, mitochondrial biogenesis, and efficiency. These biomarker improvements specify that supplementation with beetroot juice might have ergogenic effects on cardiorespiratory endurance which would, in turn, benefit athletic performance.

Supplementation with beetroot juice in athletes, can improve cardiorespiratory endurance in athletes by increasing efficiency, which in turn improves performance at various distances, increases exhaustion time at submaximal intensities, may also improve the cardiorespiratory performance at anaerobic threshold intensities and maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max).

There have been numerous studies that are conducted investigating the effects of beetroot on performance and endurance. Most of these studies conducted involve cyclists. One such study conducted using trained cyclists had them consume 500ml of beetroot juice, which compared to 6.2mmols of nitrate 2.5 hours before their exercise. The study then proceeded to do two time-based trials - a 4km and a 16km ride. The following were the observations reported of the rides- in the 4km time trials there was a 2.8% improvement and in the 16km time trial, there was a 2.7% improvement in time. The result of the study was that the cyclists exhibited a 7-11% improvement in their power output with no increase in oxygen cost of exercise. The research findings from other studies have also lead to hypothesize that supplementing with beetroot juice, in athletes, could mitigate the ergolytic effects of hypoxia on cardiorespiratory endurance. 

In another study, researchers observed 5 recreationally fit men and 6 women in their 20s. The study involved the subjects eating either 200 grams (about 2 medium-sized beetroots) of baked beetroot or a placebo (cranberry relish) before finishing a 5-kilometer treadmill time trial test. The researchers wanted to know if eating 200grams of beetroot prior to an exercise would have any significant improvement on running times. The result of this study was that the running velocity increased by 3%. A 3% increase in running velocity compares to around a 41 second faster finishing time, which over a short distance is a significant time difference.

The importance of cardiorespiratory fitness for athletes and active adults is always essential.

FAST&UP VITALIZE is a multivitamin and mineral supplement with a superior combination of 12 Vitamins, 9 Minerals and a Natural Nitrate Rich Beetroot Extract with a 7% natural nitrate content in an effervescent form for increased vitality, enhanced performance and overall well-being. The natural nitrate-rich beetroot extract helps in blood circulation to maintain a healthy heart for an active lifestyle and helps improve endurance and athletic performance. 

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