The Auburn football team has enjoyed a resurgence in the last two years. They made it to the championship game last year and sit at 6-1 and are very much in the hunt for a playoff spot this year. While a lot has gone into their success, the team recently revealed that the have a pre-game ritual of drinking beet juice.
This might not actually be as crazy as it sounds. There is, in fact, research to back up the practice. A recent study has shown that the high nitrate levels found in beet juice increases blood flow to skeletal muscles by 38% during exercise. “When consumed, nitrate is reduced in the mouth by bacteria into nitrite. The nitrite is swallowed again and then reduced to nitric oxide, which is a potent vasodilator. The nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels, similar to turning on a water faucet, and allows blood to go where it needs to go.” Beet juice has been found to be especially beneficial for people engaging in high-intensity exercise (like football) because it specifically targets fast twitch muscle fibers (the muscles that activate when you sprint, for example) that are often oxygen depleted.
So give it a shot. Let us know if you can tell a difference.