by Old Bone Machine

A rider will seek to gain advantage in a multitude of ways.

Professor Andrew Jones from the University of Exeter has carried out some interesting research into the health benefits and potential performance gains of drinking beetroot juice. His findings are of particular relevance  to cyclists and other endurance athletes.

Results showed that when the cyclists drank ordinary beetroot juice they had a higher power output (measured in watts) for the same level of effort – suggesting their muscles and cardio-vascular system were being more efficient.

On average, riders were 11 seconds (2.8%) quicker over the 4km distance and 45 seconds (2.7%) faster over the 16.1km distance.

Beetroot juice is a natural source of nitrate, which is thought to be the active ingredient in affecting athlete’s performance.

The nitrate has two physiological effects. Firstly, it widens blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and allowing more blood flow. Secondly, it affects muscle tissue, reducing the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during activity. The combined effects have a significant impact on performing physical tasks, whether it involves low-intensity or high-intensity effort.

The complete article can be read here.

A video of Professor Andrew Jones talking about his research can be found here (recommended viewing).