A new study has found that beetroot juice boosts stamina, and could assist in exercise output for 16% longer. Last week, a group at the University of Exeter led a study showing how the specific nitrates in the juice makes this happen.These nitrates reduce oxygen uptake, making exercise less tiring. The study shows that drinking the beetroot juice has shown a way to defeat fatigue – something that other studies have never shown.

The team believes that these findings are particularly important for endurance athletes, such as marathon runners. They also believe that those with cardiovascular or metabolic disease, as well as elderly people, may find this beneficial.

beets Beetroot juice increases stamina, study

The researchers conducted their study with a group of eight men, between the ages of 19 and 38. For six consecutive days they were given 500mL (2 cups) of organic beetroot juice. They then completed a series of tests, all of which involved cycling on an exercise bike. They later were given a placebo of blackcurrant cordial for six consecutive days, then completed the same tests.

After drinking the beetroot juice, the group could cycle an average of 11.25 minutes, 92 seconds longer than with the placebo – approximately a 2% reduction in the time taken to cover a set distance. They also had lower resting blood pressure.

The researchers are not sure of the mechanism for the nitrates to boost stamina, but they suspect it could be from the nitrate turning into nitric oxide in the body, reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.

Regardless, the study was small; the team plans to conduct further studies to try to understand in more detail the effects of nitrate-rich foods on exercise physiology.

Adapted from materials provided by University of Exeter.

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