Can’t beat beets: The value of natural nitrates with Beet It Sport
This sponsored content was provided by Beet it Canada.
It is no secret that consuming vegetables provides a variety of health benefits, in both the short and long-term. One of the beneficial components that has received a great deal of attention in research is nitrate, which is found in large quantities in vegetables such as spinach, arugula and beets. Beets in particular stand out in this instance due to also containing high antioxidant levels and their ability to be easily stored or juiced. When consumed from naturally occurring sources in food, nitrate is referred to as dietary nitrate.
While nitrate is the molecule that gets all the attention, it is actually nitric oxide that produces the majority of benefits within the body. Our bodies have a dedicated pathway that relies on certain bacteria within the mouth to begin the conversion of nitrate into nitric oxide. We can also produce nitric oxide through a separate pathway using the amino acids arginine and/or citrulline, however this pathway does not function well under exercise conditions. In contrast, the conversion of nitrate to nitric oxide is actually enhanced during exercise making nitrate the preferred source of nitric oxide production for athletes while still providing all the benefits for health. Another advantage is that unused nitric oxide can be recycled back into any stage of the nitrate pathway to produce new nitric oxide available for working muscles.
Nitric oxide has been shown to have a wide variety of effects in the human body including being toxic to some human pathogens, improving exercise tolerance and efficiency, and improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure through its ability to relax and expand blood vessels. The power of nitric oxide to expand the blood vessels and lower blood pressure has obvious benefits for overall health and new areas of research are even examining the potential to improve blood flow to the brain. In exercise, improved blood flow to the working muscles means better oxygen delivery and enhanced removal of waste products. The benefits continue after exercise where greater blood flow can allow for faster recovery and better tissue repair.
Dietary nitrate belongs to a very select group of components used in supplementation that are not only recognized as safe and effective, but also healthy! Even the International Olympic Committee has recognized this fact and included recommendations for dosing and usage of nitrates for athletes at the highest levels of competition. A minimum recommended dose is 300 mg of nitrate 1-3 hours prior to exercise with the effects increasing over about a 6-day period. While dietary nitrate can come from many sources, by far the most popular is beetroot juice due the ease of preparation and consumption. Beet It Sport produces a concentrated form of beetroot juice to deliver at least 400 mg of dietary nitrate in a convenient 70 ml shot. This is the equivalent of 6-8 whole beets or approximately 500 ml of regular beetroot juice. Tune in for our second article where we will delve into how nitrate from beets can improve performance for athletes and why top athletes and scientists choose Beet It!