Scientists say beetroot juice ‘significantly increases muscle strength during exercise’

Forget pre-workout protein shakes: Beetroot juice ‘significantly increases muscle strength during exercise’, scientists say.

  • Scientists in the United Kingdom and the United States tracked muscle strength as participants performed exercises
  • Half of them had been given a nitrate-laced drink before starting the workout
  • The results showed 7 percent higher muscle strength in those who consumed the drink

If protein shakes or pre-workout drinks don’t sit well with your stomach, you’re in luck.

Researchers have found that beetroot juice significantly increases muscle strength, allowing you to lift heavier weights and perform more repetitions.

Vegetables like beetroot are rich in nitrates, chemicals that boost oxygen and blood around the body and have been linked to increased stamina.

Coffee is another powerful stimulant that can aid in workouts by stimulating the central nervous system and giving you more energy.

Scientists have suggested that drinking beetroot juice before exercise can enhance muscle performance (stock image)

In the latest study, experts from the University of Exeter in the UK recruited ten healthy men in their early twenties.

They were asked to follow a low-nitrate diet for three days before the start of the experiment, such as avoiding leafy green vegetables.

They were then divided into two groups, with half receiving a nitrate-enriched pre-workout drink containing 4.7 fluid ounces (fluid ounces) which the researchers said was the equivalent of beetroot juice.

The rest were given a placebo drink containing a placebo powder. Both groups were unaware if they had been given the real thing.

The researchers said the drinks were indistinguishable in terms of appearance, smell and taste.

The participants then completed one exercise three hours later after warming up.

The movement saw participants contract their quadriceps — the large muscle in the front of the upper leg — 60 times while their dominant leg was attached to the lever of the machine. They had to contract the muscle without moving the leg during the experiment.

Using electrical impulses, the researchers measured muscle tone, or the force that a muscle exerts when it contracts.

They found that the torque produced by the participants was seven percent higher in the group that drank an actual pre-workout drink.

Muscle biopsies were also collected from the leg after ingestion of the drink and before and after exercise to check tissue nitrate levels.

Scientists found higher levels of nitrates in the muscles of people who drank a nitrate drink compared to those who did not.

In the body, nitrates can help widen blood vessels and increase the amount of oxygen that gets to your muscles.

Dr. Barbara Biknova, a scientist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in the US, said: ‘This study provides the first direct evidence that muscle nitrate levels are important for exercise performance, presumably as a source of nitric acid. oxide.

“These findings have significant implications not only for the field of exercise, but possibly for other medical areas such as those targeting neuromuscular and metabolic diseases related to nitric oxide deficiency.”

Dr Andy Jones, a physiologist at the University of Exeter, said: ‘Our research has already provided a large body of evidence for the performance-enhancing properties of dietary nitrate, which is commonly found in beetroot juice.

“Surprisingly, this latest study provides the best evidence yet of the mechanisms underlying why dietary nitrate improves human muscle performance.”

Their study has been published in the journal Acta Physiologica.

What foods are high in nitrates?

Our muscles need nitrates when we exercise to help them breathe or release energy.

This helps power the mitochondria — the energy factories in cells — thus increasing the energy available for contractions.

Scientists suggest that the more nitrates we have, the better our exercise.

Foods high in nitrates include:

  • spinach;
  • Bok choy
  • lettuce;
  • carrot;
  • beetroot juice;
  • pork meat;
  • Cured meat.

Source: WebMD

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