It's not the first time this year beetroot juice has been in the news, with an earlier study suggesting it helps athletes exercise for longer. But now the same researchers who brought us the original news about the distinctly unglamorous vegetable claim their latest study shows beetroot could help those of us who are less athletic get more out of our workouts too.
Scientists from the University of Exeter's Sport and Health Sciences department have discovered that beetroot juice reduces the amount of oxygen you need to perform simple, low-intensity exercise, such as walking.
Writing in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the researchers claim test results show how drinking beetroot juice allowed volunteers to use less oxygen while walking. And what that means, they claim, is that drinking beetroot juice reduces the effort needed to exercise (walking, in this instance) by 12%.
So how does it work? According to the experts, beetroot juice widens your blood vessels and reduces blood pressure, which allows more blood flow. It also affects muscle tissue, they claim, by reducing the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during exercise. So basically you can do more exercise with less effort.
And while that may not be critical while you're young and perfectly capable of working out without any assistance, it could be a great help to people who, for instance, have heart or lung conditions.
The ingredient in beetroot that's thought to have the positive effect on physical performance is a substance called nitrate, the experts add.
Do you have any tips on how to get more out of your workout?