BOOST PERFORMANCE WITH BEETS
Hi guys, this is the first in a series of blogs my wife (Amanda Kearns, owner of Inner Angel Health) and I will be releasing, we will be chatting about the areas we specialise in: Sports Performance, Human Performance, Stress Management, Nutrition and digestive health.
Today I am writing a quick article on Dietary Nitrates specifically from beetroot (montmorency cherries also great) and how it can be used to improve athletic performance especially in endurance sports such as cycling, running, swimming etc.
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and especially beetroot are rich in natural chemicals called NITRATES. According to several published studies nitrate is recycled in blood and tissues to form NITRIC OXIDE (NO). NO is a a signalling molecule involved in regulating several processes in the human body, such as: dilation of blood vessels (allowing greater blood flow to working muscles and aids in lowering blood pressure), improving transmission of neural signals (body responds quicker) as well as improving an immune response (improving our health by acting as a toxic defence molecule against infectious organisms).
NO regulates mitochondrial respiration by inhibiting ‘cytochrome c oxidase’ (COX) which is the terminal enzyme in the mitochondrial electron transport system. Inhibiting COX causes an ‘early reduction’ in the mitochondrial respiratory chain and an accumulation of electrons in the respiratory chain cytochromes. An increase in electron turnover and the high capacity of COX for processing electrons allows for both cellular respiration and energy supply to be maintained for longer periods – in other words, increasing STAMINA (or you ability to carry out exercise for longer).
Exercise creates a massive energy demand on the body that needs to be matched by the amount of oxygen we are breathing in. Our blood contains red blood cells (RBCs) which carry the oxygen to the working muscles. RBCs release a rich energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to power muscle contractions.
As you have just read above, NO can improve vasodilation improving blood flow meaning we get more oxygen and ATP to the working muscles meaning we can remain active for longer.
This means supplementing with Beets and other nitrate rich foods may increase your endurance (aerobic) performance and even improve high intensity sessions such as group fitness classes, football, crossfit etc. as a result of NO increasing oxygen efficiency during muscle contractions.
As a sports scientist and qualified nutritionist I recommend Beets (expecially in juice form) taken 1-2 hours before exercise may have a beneficial impact on your performance. Our choice is Inner Angel Cold Pressed health juices, which are naturally low in sugar and nutritionist formulated. Each juice flavour is packed with up to 13 vegetables, fruits and herbs, to achieve a healthy nutrient composition tailored to common ailments, and offering over 1000% of your daily recommended vitamins per juice.
If you would like more information on the juices or to order some, I am happy to provide you with information on shop stockists and home delivery.
(Lundberg, Weitzberg, Lundberg & Alving, 1994; Zweier, Wang, Samouilov & Kuppusamy, 1995).
(Palmer, Ferrige, & Moncada, 1987)
(Lamas, Michel, Brenner, & Marsden, 1991; Lamas, Michel, Collins, Brenner, & Marsden, 1992)
(Castello, David, McClure, Crook & Poyton, 2006)
(Lundberg & Weitzberg, 2010)
(Peterson, Dewilde & Fago, 2008).
(McArdle, McArdle & Katch, 2009)