Move over chocolate milk. The latest unlikely sports performance-boosting beverage is blood-red beet juice. The drink, aka beetroot juice, has recently become a staple among elite athletes looking for an edge—like members of Team USA at the Sochi Olympics—and more casual fitness types are following suit.
While many fans are picking up their beet blends at juice bars, brands like Red Ace Organics sell beet shots, and the company’s sponsored athletes include top-20 U.S. mountain bikers Chris Baddick and Diedre York, and distance runner Tyler McCandless, all of whom rave on the website about how beet shots fueled them to victory. Another supplement company, Pines International, says sales of its beet juice powder increased by 50 percent from 2012 to 2013.
Enthusiasts point to evidence that the nitrates in beet juice are converted in the body to nitric oxide that can enhance energy extraction from oxygen. Translation: more oxygen gets to the muscles, which means they can work at a higher level of intensity, which leads to enhanced athletic performance. Sounds pretty good, right?
While beet juice has a lot of health benefits, its performance-boosting properties have not been 100% proven, especially for us less elite exercisers. And, beet juice is higher in sugar than green juice, so it may not be the best choice for people with blood sugar fluctuations. It's preferable to eat those beets raw or briefly steamed, for their many health benefits, like boosting liver detoxification, fighting cancer with antioxidants, and lowering cholesterol.
~Thanks to Ann Abel