High in natural sugars, beets are a great source of fuel for the body, especially before or during a race, but it’s their all-star micronutrient and phytochemical content that has even the most elite athletes going gaga.
Firstly beets are an amazing source of nitrates, which can be converted to the signaling molecule nitric oxide in our amazing body. Now let’s get one thing straight before we go any further; beets contain nitrates, not nitrites; completely different animal. Nitrites are used as a preservative in things like deli meats and bacon, and when heated combine with amines to form the cancer causing nitrosamines. Not what we want at all. Nitrates however, are naturally occurring compounds, and although do covert to nitrites in our body, are considered to be health protective when consumed in their whole food form.
Got it? Now back to nitric oxide! In our body nitric oxide has the ability to help relax the smooth muscles that makes up our cardiovascular system, meaning that more blood, more oxygen, and more nutrients, can be delivered to our hard working muscle cells. While this has been known to be a huge benefit to those suffering from high blood pressure for some time now, the implication in the sports world has just started to take hold. In a study of 9 healthy men who were given beet juice or a blackcurrant juice control, it was found that those consuming beet juice had a 16% improvement when it came to endurance, and were able to decrease their oxygen consumption by 3%, meaning that it took them less energy to cycle at the same pace. The author’s concluded that this would most likely mean a 1-2% reduction in race time, a huge win for those that know every second matters.
Beets also contain a unique source of phytonutrients known as betalains, which have been shown to provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support while supporting detoxification in the body. Training hard puts increased demands on the body increasing our risk for oxidative stress, and thus inflammation. Joint pain, muscle stiffness, compromised immune system? These things may sound like part and parcel of being an athlete, but the truth is they are compromising your performance, and hindering your success. Again nourishing the body with phytonutrients found in beets will help support all your systems and prime your body for the physical task at hand.
Consuming beets 30 minutes pre-workout is a great way to improve your endurance and naturally support your body from inflammation and oxidative stress, but is often easier said than done. Thankfully formulas like activfuel+ and Vegan activfuel+ have made it easy! Containing 1.5 of pure, organic beetroot per serving it allows for all the benefits of beets, but with none of the mess of preparing them or the digestive upset that can come from eating such a high-fiber food pre-workout.
Nourishing the body with formulas that contain whole foods is key to improving performance and optimizing your health to keep you going now right through to the finish line. Genuine Health’s entire line of Sports Nutrition products are designed with these principles in mind to help your reach your goals naturally.