Natural Foods as Ergogenic Aids – A Multipart Series

By Katie Jeffrey, MS, RD, CSSD and Nicole Parmenter

Are you looking for something to give your athletic performance an extra edge? Have you ever been tempted to try a supplement because it’s supposed to be a “magic pill” that will enhance your performance and speed?

Ergogenic aids are dietary supplements (external influences) that are designed to enhance your athletic performance. Dietary supplements can be intimidating, expensive, and contain chemical additives. And, many are not supported by scientifically-based evidence. This series will introduce the natural foods, which can be purchased at your local grocery store, that have been scientifically proven to positively aid your athletic performance.

  20140121_183942  Just Beet It!

Beets (beet root juice) are number one of the top ten foods that contain nitrates. Dietary nitrates, or nitric oxide, have been proven to decrease blood pressure and increase athletic performance.

How Nitrates Aid Athletic Performance

Nitrates reduce oxygen uptake (VO₂) during exercise which reduces fatigue and increases stamina. This occurs by increasing the blood flow to the muscles, allowing for a greater intensity of workouts.

How to enjoy:
• Beet juice: well-tolerated in moderate quantities
• Whole beets: side dishes, in salads, incorporated into recipes
• Beet juice powder: mixed with water, add to smoothies/recipes
o Try BeetElite Powder

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