by Dr. James Meschino on 25 January 2021 in Diet, Blood Pressure

How Raw Beet Juice benefits Sports Performance?

(A study on raw beet juice that reduces High Blood Pressure and Improves Athletic/Sports Performance (repeated bouts of sprinting) in Trained Soccer Players)

Source: Journal of Human Hypertension (2016) and the journal Nutrients (2017)

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update (August 23, 2017)

The research I am citing today is from the Journal Human Hypertension (2016) and The Journal Nutrients (2017), and it features the emerging evidence that raw beet juice benefits both to heart health and sports performance. I am a big fan of pomegranate juice. If you follow my research updates, then you know that I believe everyone should consume at least 4 oz. per day of pomegranate juice to help prevent prostate and breast cancer.

Up until now, it is the only juice I have recommended but we have impressive data to show health benefits. But, I think we need to add to the list, raw beet juice, based on some impressive recent research. Raw beet juice is a rich source of nitrates.

Once in the bloodstream, the body can convert nitrates into nitric oxide, which opens-up (dilates) blood vessels allowing more blood to circulate to the heart muscle. 

And during exercises, such as endurance aerobic exercise or repeated bouts of sprinting, nitric oxide improves blood and oxygen flow to muscles -including the type II fast-twitch muscles required for quick acceleration, explosive strength and sprinting

Can Beet juice manage high blood pressure ?

In the past few years, researchers have designed human studies to investigate whether or not raw beet juice consumption can improve blood circulation to the heart, relax the artery wall and reduce high blood pressure to some degree and improve other cardiovascular risk factors.

 The 2016 study in the Journal- Human Hypertension

recruited 24 patients with high blood pressure, between the ages of 25-68. This well-designed, randomized crossover study showed that the ingestion of 250 ml (about 8.5 fluid oz.) of raw beet juice per day produced the following outcomes:

  1. A lowering of systolic and diastolic blood pressure
  2. Decreased markers of blood vessel inflammation (i.e. CRP)
  3. Improved blood flow to the heart and the general circulation
  4. Lowering of the bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol)
  5. And Improved antioxidant status

Other studies have shown similar effects. It appears that the high nitrate content of raw beet juice provides the building block for the body to increase its production of nitric oxide, which we believe accounts for many of these cardiovascular benefits.

Beet juice also contains antioxidants, fiber, potassium, folic acid and vitamin C, some of which may account for the other benefits noted, such as lowering cholesterol, reduced inflammation and improved antioxidant status.

Eight ounces of beet juice contains about 100 calories – the equivalent of a little less than two fruit servings.

What was the impact of drinking beet juice on athletic performance?

With respect to athletic performance, the improved blood flow to exercising muscles induced by higher nitric oxide levels has resulted in improved sports performance in various aerobic events, such as long-distance cycling, when athletes used raw beet juice prior to and during athletic competition.

In 2017 a study in soccer players showed that raw beet juice can also improve the ability to perform repeated bouts of all-out sprinting, which helps them maintain more optimal speed endurance in the latter aspects of a soccer game, hockey game, basketball game, tennis, or any sport requiring repeated bouts or all-out sprint-like activity.

How much raw beet juice to include in the wellness checklist?

So, if you are wanting to improve your high blood pressure or cardiovascular risk profile, or wishing to improve your endurance, or your ability to sustain all-out repeated bouts of sprinting required in many sports performance, then you may want to add 8 oz. of raw beet juice to your daily wellness checklist or natural and approved ergogenic aids for sports performance.

I have included the cited research papers in the text below.

 References:

1. Asgary S et al. Improvement of hypertension, endothelial function and systemic inflammation following short-term supplementation with red beet juice: a randomized crossover pilot study. J Human Hypertension. 2016. Oct 30 (10):627-32.

2. (WebMD Beet Juice) Article The Truth About Beet Juice

3. Nyakayiru J et al. Beetroot juice supplementation improves high-intensity intermittent type exercise performance in trained soccer players. 2017. Nutrients 9(3),314

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Dr. Meschino


About the Author

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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