As there is growing evidence of the link between physical fitness and health at all stages of life, it may be welcome news that people can boost their exercise capacity by drinking beetroot extract.
Researchers from the University of Exeter in England found that beetroot juice can help boost stamina and may allow some people to exercise up to 16 percent longer while reducing the risk of muscle pain and soreness.
The scientists explain that compounds in the extract help reduce oxygen uptake, a major factor behind muscle fatigue, probably because nitrate in the juice turns to nitric oxide in the body, thereby lowering the amount of oxygen needed to perform energy-intensive exercises.
Professor Andy Jones of the University of Exeter’s School of Sport and Health Sciences says their work is the first to show that nitrate-rich food can improve exercise endurance.
"I am also keen to explore the relevance of the findings to those people who suffer from poor fitness and may be able to use dietary supplements to help them go about their daily lives," he adds.
The study was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.