Beetroot Improves Running Speed

A St. Louis University study found that beetroot (200 grams containing at least 500 milligrams of nitrate) improved running speed during a 5-kilometer treadmill speed test in recreational runners. Beetroot juice contains nitrate that the blood vessels use to produce nitric oxide— a critical chemical that promotes blood flow, improves sexual performance and enhances energy levels. The capacity of the endothelial cells (cells lining the blood vessels) to secrete nitric oxide is an important measure of cardiovascular health and performance. Nitrites from food sources such as processed meats might increase the risk of cancer, so it’s probably best to consume beets rather than foods such as hotdogs or bologna. (Paper presented at American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo)