A new study from Britain has found beetroot juice may increase physical stamina and endurance by up to 16 percent in healthy men.
Beetroot, the red-staining root vegetable, is rich in antioxidant beta-carotene and other carotenoids that are present in most yellow, orange, and many red pigments in fruits and vegetables.
In this trial, eight men aged 19 to 38 drank two cups (500 ml) a day of organic beetroot juice for six consecutive days. Then they completed a series of tests on an exercise bike. The same tests were repeated after the men drank the same amount of a placebo (blackcurrant juice) for six days.
After drinking the beetroot juice, the men were able to cycle for an average of 11.25 minutes - 92 seconds longer than after consuming the blackcurrant drink.
Resting blood pressure was also lowered after they drank the beetroot juice, report the researchers in the August 6 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.
It's thought that the nitrate in beetroot juice may be responsible for the increase in exercise endurance. The exact mechanism that causes nitrate to increase stamina is unknown, but these researchers suspect that nitrate may reduce oxygen uptake and making exercise less tiring.
These findings could benefit endurance athletes, elderly people and those with heart or respiratory diseases, the study authors suggest.
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