Another claim to fame of the beet is its ability to improve exercise performance. Beets achieve this effect also via the production of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, improves oxygen delivery and utilization, prolongs the time to muscle failure, and reduces oxygen requirements during exercise. In simpler terms, by enhancing blood flow to the muscles, beets allow them to work more efficiently and for longer periods of time. There has also been a demonstration of improved athletic ability and reduced muscle soreness following exertion in clinical research. Lastly, athletes have reported improvements in decision-making and reaction time when adding beet products to their exercise regimens.
Beet fiber increases the excretion of cholesterol, thereby lowering levels of harmful cholesterol in the blood. Beets have also been demonstrated to reduce triglyceride levels in patients at risk for heart disease. Lastly, they possess anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting cyclooxygenase-2 enzymes, enzymes which activate signaling pathways to promote swelling, pain and inflammation.
Beets, when consumed, may produce a pink or red-colored urine, which is harmless. However, discoloration of the urine when using beets is sometimes reflective of abnormal iron levels or metabolism. Lastly, excessive consumption of beet products may precipitate or worsen kidney stones due to the oxalate content. Therefore, those with a history of such stones should consult their doctors before beginning beet supplementation.
Precision Pharmacy offers the most convenient product for supplementing beets, Bountiful Beets by Country Farms. Anyone looking for beets can skip the trip to the supermarket and purchase this nitrate-rich beet extract which, when mixed into any beverage, has the equivalent of 3 whole beets per serving. Unlike real beets, this product does not require refrigeration, has standardized levels of beet components (betanins), and boasts a much longer shelf life.
Read more about beets here:
--Nicholas Niles, PharmD candidate, St. John’s University Class of 2020.