The Little Things . . . a Going the Distance newsletter Early March 2012 || issue #3 Boost Your Performance with Beetroot Juice Nina Caron, MS / H


The Little Things . . .

a Going the Distance newsletter

Early March 2012 || issue #3

Boost Your Performance with Beetroot Juice

Nina Caron, MS / Human Nutrition
(978) 376-2493

It is a well-known fact that a plant-based diet can significantly help to reduce risk for cardiovascular disease. The dietary nitrate found in vegetables has been shown to reduce blood pressure, thereby providing protection for the heart. Obviously, other lifestyle factors, such as amount of physical activity as well as a person’s stress level, contribute to risk of heart disease. However, there is no disputing that the quality of one’s diet plays a major role in heart health.

Nitrate is found in all vegetables, however it is present in especially high levels in beetroot and leafy greens. Recent studies have indicated that an increase in dietary nitrate consumption in the form of beetroot juice in particular not only lowers blood pressure but is also responsible for reducing the level of oxygen required during exercise. In other words, research has shown that beetroot juice can actually enhance athletic performance!

Exactly how does this work? For those interested in the science behind the claim, reduction of blood pressure and athletic performance enhancement are the result of the metabolic conversion of dietary nitrate (NO3) to biologically active nitrite (NO2) and then finally to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is responsible for many processes in the body, such as regulation of blood flow, muscle contraction, glucose and calcium homeostasis, as well as mitochondrial respiration. All these processes dictate an individual’s blood pressure and the integrity of the cardiovascular system.

Research done in the United Kingdom indicates a significant reduction in the “oxygen cost” of moderate-intensity exercise and improved toleration of high intensity exercise with the dietary consumption of nitrate-rich beetroot juice. Apparently, the oxygen cost of exercise is lowered because the muscles require less ATP for muscle force production with a certain level of nitrate in the body. Furthermore, it seems that beetroot juice also lowers the oxygen cost of exercise by reducing the breakdown of phosphocreatine (the limited reserve of high-energy phosphate that resynthesizes ATP), causing less muscle metabolic disruption. The amount of dietary nitrate found necessary to accomplish the above was between 300-500 mg.

So, it seems that a “beetroot cocktail” may be in order prior to the next tough workout or long training run. Beetroot juice is an easy way to quickly consume a substantial amount of nitrate, however I should mention that some may not find beetroot juice to be what you might call pleasant tasting. So, as you will see below, I have provided some beet juice recipes to entice the athlete/competitor in you to give this a try!!!!

Beet Juice Recipe with Carrot and Celery

1 small beetroot (the small ones are sweeter!)
2 large carrots
1 stalk of celery

1. Wash the vegetables using water and a stiff vegetable brush.
2. Remove the carrot and beetroot tops, and peel the beetroot if its skin is tough. If it has a nice thin skin then just cut off the top.
3. Slice up the vegetables to fit your juicer.
4. Juice and serve.

For a sweeter drink I often add an apple, or use 2 apples instead of the carrots.

The green beetroot tops are edible, rich in beta-carotene, and can also be juiced. I find a little goes a long way.

Beetroot Juice with Cucumber and Pineapple

This makes a fabulous drink that is best consumed on an empty stomach as it's very cleansing!

1 small beetroot
½ cucumber
1 cup of pineapple chunks

1. Remove the top from the beetroot and scrub using water and a stiff vegetable brush to remove any dirt.
2. Peel or wash the cucumber. If the cucumber is waxed then remove the wax by peeling it.
3. Slice the pineapple and remove its tough skin.
4. Cut the fruit and vegetables to fit your juicer.
5. Juice and serve.

*For those who don’t enjoy beetroot juice, 1 cup of raw spinach should do the trick. A cup of raw spinach contains approximately 900 mg of nitrate.

GTD Spring Session

The GTD Spring Session begins the week of April 23, with the first onsite workout on Tuesday, April 24. Signup information for the 15-week Spring Session will be on the GTD website soon.

The Winter session finishes on April 15, with the last onsite workout on Tuesday, April 10. The week of Monday, April 16 through Sunday, April 22 is a Program 1 Vacation. Take a break!
Program 2 runners will have their regular program that week.

Upcoming Marathons

Boston Marathon, April 16, 2012
Providence Marathon, May 6, 2012
Sugarloaf Marathon, May 20, 2012
Vermont City Marathon, May 27, 2012


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