Can’t endure your workout? Researchers say beet juice, a.k.a. beetroot juice, boosts stamina and endurance by up to 16 percent. How so? The nitrate in beet juice cuts oxygen uptake to an extent unachieveable by any other means, according to a British study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology and reported on by MedicineNet.

Researchers at the University of Exeter’s School of Sport and Health Sciences, in South West England, had eight men, ages 19 to 38, drink 500 milliliters of organic beet juice for six consecutive days and perform a series of tests on an exercise bike. The men completed the same routine after they consumed a placebo beverage for an equal number of days.

Study results indicated that men who drank the beet juice cycled for an average of 11.25 minutes, which was 92 seconds longer than the men who drank the placebo beverage. The beet juice drinkers also had a lower resting blood pressure.

Scientists don’t know exactly what causes nitrate in beet juice to increase stamina, but they propose that nitrate may become nitric oxide in the body, decreasing oxygen uptake and making exercise less exhausting.

Researchers suggest that these findings might benefit endurance athletes, the elderly and people with cardiovascular, respiratory or metabolic diseases.

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