Can Eating Beets or Drinking Beetroot juice Offer Any Fitness Benefits?

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I’ve been hearing about the benefits of beets on blood circulation and stamina for a long time, but never really put much stock into it.

However, I started incorporating more beets in my diet, and anecdotally noticed some improvements during my exercise routines, especially on leg days. That’s right, I seem to have a bit more endurance and less soreness after exercise on the days where I consumed beets the day before.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, that’s highly anectodal and cannot be considered statistically significant in any way, and I would totally agree with you.

That said, because I didn’t want to just trust my own results, I decided to look into the topic more deeply, to see what I could find in the scientific literature. Let’s dive into it…

Studies About Beets and Their Benefits

Here are all the studies I could find about beets or beetroot juice and their outcomes:

Area of FocusStudyOutcome
Blood Pressure ReductionDietary nitrate supplementation with beetroot juice for 1 week in adults with stage 2 hypertension (clinically high blood pressure). Publication: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22068217/Significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure observed.
Exercise PerformanceBeetroot juice consumption prior to moderate-intensity exercise in healthy adults. Publication: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3487773/Improved exercise tolerance and time to exhaustion observed.
Vascular FunctionAcute beetroot juice consumption in healthy adults. Publication: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17101900/Improved blood flow and vascular function observed.
Anti-inflammatory EffectsConsumption of concentrated beetroot juice for 2 weeks in people with high blood pressure. Publication: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288229Significant reductions in inflammatory markers observed.
Blood Sugar ControlBeetroot juice supplementation in obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. Publication: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3928500/Studies have shown mixed results, with some suggesting potential benefits for blood sugar control, while others haven’t found significant effects.
Table showing all the studies about beets and beetroot juice

As you can see, there seems to have been quite a few serious studies on the topic, and the outcomes of these studies is outstanding. The nitrate level of beets, and particularly beetroot juice, seem to offer a host of benefits for humans.

Proven Benefits of Beet Consumption

Let’s summarize the findings of all these studies when it comes to the benefits one can expect from consuming beets and beetroot juice, either before, during, or post-workout:

  1. Boosts Stamina and Speeds Up Recovery: Beetroot juice has shown great promise in enhancing endurance. It helps athletes keep up their intensity for longer stretches, which is perfect for both training and competition days. For example, female volleyball players found that their recovery times improved and they felt less sore after games when they incorporated beetroot juice into their routine.
  2. Improves Cardio Fitness: Regularly drinking beetroot juice can lead to better cardiorespiratory endurance. This means athletes can perform at high intensities without tiring as quickly, which is especially useful in endurance sports.
  3. Strengthens Muscle Power: If you’re looking to get stronger, beetroot juice might be worth a try. Studies involving wrestlers and other athletes have shown that beetroot juice can boost muscle strength and enhance performance in activities that require quick bursts of power, like sprinting or jumping.
  4. Less Muscle Soreness: Another plus is that beetroot juice seems to help with muscle soreness. Following tough workouts, especially those that strain the muscles, beetroot juice can help reduce soreness, allowing for quicker recovery and readiness for the next training session.

Benefits Beyond Fitness

According to the various studies, such as the ones we cited earlier, beets and beetroot juice offer more benefits that go beyond fitness. Here are some:

  1. Fights Off Free Radicals: Beetroot is packed with antioxidants, like betalains, which help guard your cells against damage. This can mean a lower risk of long-term illnesses, including some types of cancer and heart disease.
  2. Lowers Inflammation: The natural compounds in beetroot have the power to soothe inflammation. Since ongoing inflammation can lead to various health troubles, from arthritis to heart issues, sipping some beetroot juice might be a good move.
  3. Boosts Brain Function: Drinking beetroot juice increases blood flow to the brain, which might help keep your mind sharp and could even ward off dementia as you age.
  4. Supports Digestion: Even though beetroot juice doesn’t have all the fiber of whole beets, it still encourages healthy digestion by getting your digestive juices flowing.
  5. Liver Love: Beetroot comes with betaine, a substance that helps prevent fat accumulation in the liver and shields it from toxins.
  6. Keeps Blood Sugar Steady: With its low glycemic load, beetroot juice doesn’t spike your blood sugar too quickly. This is great news for keeping your energy levels stable and managing your blood sugar.

Best Way To Consume Beets

Whe͏ther it͏’͏s preferable to eat beets or drink beet juice depends on your͏ health objectiv͏es and personal preference.

Eating whole beets p͏rovides fiber, which assists in diges͏tio͏n ͏and helps in supporting a healthy we͏ight.

On the other hand, drinking beet juice concentrates the nu͏trients and nitrates, ͏makin͏g it͏ a good choice for rapi͏d nutrient͏ absorp͏tion and potential stamina improvement, p͏art͏icularly before workouts.

However, juicing e͏liminates fib͏er, so y͏ou won’t receive the digestive advantages that whole beets provide.

Beets and Beetroot Juice FAQ

1. How much beetroot juice should I drink for a performance boost?

Answer: Try having about 250-500 ml (8-16 ounces) of beetroot juice around 2-3 hours before your workout or game. This timing helps your body turn the nitrates into nitric oxide, which can improve oxygen flow and give you a leg up in your performance.

2. Is it okay to drink beetroot juice every day?

Answer: Yes, you can enjoy beetroot juice daily. If you’re new to it, start with smaller amounts to see how you react—especially if you have low blood pressure, since the juice might lower it further.

3. Are there any downsides to eating beets or drinking their juice?

Answer: For most people, beets and their juice are safe to consume, though they can turn your pee or poop a funny red color. If you have kidney issues or are on certain medications, it’s best to talk to a doctor first because of the high nitrate content.

4. Should I eat my beets raw or cooked?

Answer: Raw beets preserve the most nutrients, but if you prefer a milder taste, try them lightly steamed, roasted, or juiced. They’re tasty and nutritious however you prepare them!

5. When’s the best time to drink beetroot juice for its health benefits?

Answer: Anytime is good if you’re drinking it for general health. For boosting exercise performance, drink it a couple of hours before you start exercising.

6. Can beetroot juice lower my blood pressure?

Answer: Yep! The nitrates in beetroot juice have been shown to help lower blood pressure. Drinking it regularly can lead to modest reductions, making it a heart-healthy choice.

7. What’s better for me, beetroot juice or whole beets?

Answer: Beetroot juice offers a concentrated way to get nitrates and nutrients quickly, which is great before workouts. Whole beets give you fiber and a broader spectrum of vitamins, which are fantastic for overall health.

8. Who might not benefit from beetroot juice?

Answer: People who form kidney stones should tread lightly because beets contain oxalates, which might contribute to stone formation. Also, if you’re on blood thinners, check with your doctor because beets have vitamin K, which can affect clotting.

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