Beetroot could become one of the next go-to foods for athletes; UniSA research shows it can provide a competitive edge when it comes to playing sport. Researchers found that beetroot, grapes, sour cherries and pine bark extract, which contribute to nitric oxide availability in the body, boost endurance exercise performance.
The study's meta-analysis evaluated the effect of consuming nitrate-rich foods (typically green leafy vegetables), foods that contain polyphenols (such as berries, cherries and cocoa), and L-Citrulline (found in watermelon) on exercise endurance performance.
The study found that the nitrate levels contained in beetroot, which have been shown to boost blood flow and increase the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to muscles during exercise, helped athletes perform better more quickly.
Similarly, the polyphenols in grapes, cherries and pine bark extract helped protect nitrate from degradation in the body, boosting stamina. And, despite the ability of L-citrulline to boost nitric oxide production in the body, consuming watermelon (high in L-citrulline) did not boost exercise performance.