Here is the straight dope on beet doping.
- You do not have to eat beets. Beetroot happens to be very high in nitrates, but so is spinach, celery, arugula and other lettuces.
- Study after study suggesst that an increase in nitrates will lead to longer (16%) and faster (3%) performances.
- Increased breath holding+30 seconds.
Why do nitrates improve performance so much? Eating nitrate rich foods results in the production of nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide improves blood flow and relaxes blood vessels which means more oxygen to muscles.
Issues to keep in mind when beet doping:
- Beetroot juice is very intense. As little as half a beet can cause a tightness sensation on the vocal cords and a hoarse voice. Start with small amounts and build up to the 1/2L of juice that was used in studies.
- Beetroot juice will sometimes color urine and often in your stools. Don’t panic, it just look horrifying for a moment.
- Some people experience gastric discomfort. It can cause vomiting, stomach cramps and quickly turn into diarrhea.
Skratch Labs founder Allen Lim has a simple recipe which sounds good:
Lim suggests mixing around eight ounces of the juice with an equal-parts mixture of orange, carrot, and pineapple to cut through the taste. Try it in training by loading up with a glass a day, for one week. Some research suggests that beetroot juice can lower blood pressure, so avoid this elixir if you’re prone to getting lightheaded or start noticing those symptoms while loading, says Stacy Sims, Ph.D., co-founder of Osmo Nutrition.
My goto drink has been beet, carrot, apple, orange and ginger.