Beetroot Could Be The New Surfing Performance Super Food
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News coming out of the Australian Institute of Sport and the University of Western Australia has been released today that beetroot could be a contributor to improved peak performance.
The Australian newspaper has reported that the bloody red root vegetable is being trialled amongst elite male and female athletes as a potential performance enhancer.
The study has involved 11 elite kayakers and monitored the effects that a small amount of supplement could have on their explosive power and fast twitch fibres to perform at a higher level over a short distance. Peter Peeling from the University of Western Australia's School of Sports Science has said it is the nitrate from the juice of the beetroot that improved the efficiency of processes that occur in the mitochondria cells that produce energy.
It has previously been thought that the nitrites present in beetroot can increase the time taken to reach exhaustion. See Training Peaks. Which would directly attribute the amount of oxygen readily available to power up for a fast, explosive movement that is generated by the anaerobic energy system.
The Nitric Oxide (NO) that is produced by the body naturally and enhanced with Nitrate rich foods, can increase the sizes of the blood vessels and allow oxygenated blood to flow faster and more freely when required for high intensity, fast movement.
After taking a shot of 70mL of beetroot juice the results were in.
Peeling told the Australian "The beetroot supplement had a small effect on the distance covered improving task economy in males... and for female participants had a meaningful performance improvement of 1.7% over a 500m kayak time-trial."
In a similar study testing endurance cyclists in December 2015 by the IJSNEM, it was found that the beetroot juice did not affect the overall performance or results of long distance sport. It was also found that "The large volume of ingested beetroot juice does not represent a realistic dietary strategy for athletes to follow in a practical, performance-based setting."
Could similar results be associated with surfing; a sport that involves explosive anaerobic output with regular, intense bursts of high-powered paddling?
Former Hurley HPC sports scientist & Hurley ambassador, Dr. Jeremy Sheppard has said this finding would benefit surf athletes. "The concept of improving economy is essentially allowing the body to work more efficiently. By improving the way the body delivers energy and sparing energy through increased efficiency you can improve performance by making everything a little bit easier. If you can make paddling easier by making the body work less then it's an incredible finding."
"Surfing is such a unique sport and hydration is a real issue. When we surf we are immersed by water but can't drink it. It's an important debt and with this finding, we get the double benefit of rehydration as well as the physiological nutrient benefit.
Please remember good, healthy nutrition involved a balanced diet. Let's not go crazy for beetroots. Other vegetables that are high in Nitrate are also effective in stimulating the production of the Nitrite Oxide such as rocket, spinach, lettuce and radish.
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