Eating beetroot can make you run faster, a study has found. The purple vegetable was found to boost sprint times over 20 metres by 2 per cent.While this may not sound much it is enough to give people an advantage in sports.It may also be of use to old people who need to get a boost to get up the stairs, or run for the bus, researchers said.The key to beetroot’s effect is nitrates, which increase the energy available to muscle cells.
Andrew Jones from the University of Exeter said the study was the first to look at the effect of nitrates on ‘explosive’ exercise such as sprinting. ‘We’ve been looking at the influence of dietary nitrate on human health and performance for quite a few years.
In the study, one group were given beetroot juice, while the other were given beetroot juice that had the nitrate content taken out. The two juices tasted the same, but those who drank the beetroot juice with the nitrate left in ran much faster.
‘The focus has been on endurance, activities such as long distance running, and it seems to make muscle more efficent.‘This is the first to look at much shorter duration activities.‘Over 20 metres people were going a couple of percent faster which is pretty remarkable.
‘There are other implications. In daily life you do need to make short bursts of energy or physical activity, not necessarily sprinting or running for the bus, or climbing a flight of stairs. ‘If you are an older person that particular task can be quite a challenge.
‘What this shows is a muscle’s ability to generate power repeatedly is improved. ‘If you are doing recreational exercise, circuit training, high intensity aerobics , some of that stuff is quite explosive. ‘The implication is Zumba and other recreational exercises might be improved by this.’
Beetroot is not the only vegetable with high nitrate content. Spinach and kale, rocket and other green leafy vegetables are also rich in nitrate – and would also work just as well.
By Colin Fernandez (Daily Mail) - Mail Online 14th November 2016