The Benefits of Beets
So in my last article I went over the top fruit and vegetables to help to boost your gains but I deliberately left out one specific vegetable, and that is the good old beetroot, or beets.
So why are beets so important?
Well a lot for supplement companies are now focusing on this key ingredient, and it has grown in popularity in certain sectors of the lifting community
I will get to that, as I am going to delve into what the big deal is with beets.
So here it is……. the reason beets are so popular is that they are high in nitrates which in turn then become Nitric Oxide, and the reason this is beneficial is that Nitric Oxide (NO) is a vasodilator, which essentially means that the blood vessels relax, allowing them to dilate (become wider), and this then allows NO to increase in blood flow which in turn also lowers blood pressure.
(And the reason why NO works as a vasodilator is because it activates soluble guanylate cyclase also referred to as sGC)
Deterioration of NO
But with age comes more responsibility and less NO as ‘studies in experimental models and even humans reveal that constitutive production of nitric oxide (NO) is reduced with aging and this circumstance may be relevant to a number of diseases that plague the aging population.’ A 2013 study goes on to say that the impact on NO deterioration also has ‘an adverse impact on CV (cardiovascular) outcomes.’
So can beets make me stronger?
Well one study from 2015 wanted to determine ‘the effects of dietary NO3− in 9 patients with heart failure. After fasting overnight, subjects (then) drank beetroot juice containing or devoid of 11.2 mmol of NO3−. Two hours later, muscle function was assessed using isokinetic dynamometry. Dietary NO3 increased,’ almost immediately after drinking the beetroot juice.
Another study had resistance trained men ingest beetroot juice prior to taking on 3 sets of bench press to failure, the study demonstrated ‘that nitrate supplementation has the potential to improve resistance training performance and work output compared with a placebo.’
So does this mean Beet Juice is a good pre workout option?
Short answer, yes! And the obvious answer again goes back to the fact that NO helps increase blood flow, ensuring more blood and oxygen is getting to your muscles. So maybe add a scoop of NO to your existing pre workout
And it seems as though taking NO post workout would also be beneficial as a study from 2020 concluded. ‘Nitric oxide consumed as a supplement in line with nutrition and recovery strategies in athletes improved the recovery by accelerating lactate excretion from the body after the exercise. All of these metabolic responses in the present study suggest that NO will have a positive effect on exercise performance and recovery.’
As well as a boost in NO, beet juice also provides vitamin C, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium, antioxidants, fiber and obviously nitrates (which we have covered).
And one study has also stated that ‘moderate consumption may be beneficial in iron-deficiency anaemia and inflammatory bowel diseases.’
Are there any side effects to beet juice?
Yes beet juice is healthy but if drunk excessively beet juice can cause an accumulation of metal ions in the liver.
Another side effect is the discoloration of your urine, this could range from pink to red in color, this particular condition is actually referred to as beeturia.
There is also a risk of kidney stones, as beets are high in oxalate which contribute to kidney stone formation.
This super vegetable is beet-ing down its competition when it comes to helping increase your Nitric Oxide levels, and whether it is taken as a pre or post workout you really cannot go wrong.
If it can help boost your pumps then this has to be added to you supplement armory.
Until next time, keep pumping!
This content was originally published here.