Super Foods 7 - Beetroot


Renee McGregor (Dietitian, Author of ‘Training Food’) - Vibe Fitness nutrition expert

No matter who I am working with, elite, recreational or non-athletes, the key is to help them to tailor their nutritional intake to their training, lifestyle, family commitments and budget. Many of these so-called super foods on the market are costly; you need to eat an awful lot of kale to get the rich nutritional value that is quoted for health benefits. 

In my new book, Training Food” and in my daily practice I have introduced my list of “hero foods” for athletes. The list is by no means exhaustive but in my opinion these particular budget friendly hero foods are my top 10 and are a must on all athletes shopping lists.

Hero Foods 7- Beetroot

In recent years there has been much hype about the use of beetroot as a performance aid. This came about as studies demonstrated that the high nitrate content of the beetroot encouraged oxygen uptake by up to 16%, having a marked improvement in performance as we know that it is the lack of oxygen to our working muscles that causes the increase in acidity, preventing us from maintaining a high speed.

Practically Studies have since confirmed positive results when 5mmmol of nitrate are consumed daily 1-3 hours before training, 5 days leading up to a competition for any event that lasts between 3-36minutes. The jury is out though about whether this effect is limited to those new to sports rather than veteran and elite athletes.

The other major problem is that the nitrate value of beetroot’s differs and it is very hard to determine how much beetroot you would need to eat to get this effect. Beetroot shots and juice have been developed with this in mind but they are an acquired taste!