Does Beetroot Improve a Runner's Time?
Sept. 27, 2011 (San Diego) -- Runners and other exercisers hoping to improve their performance might consider a detour to the produce aisle.
Eating beetroot before a workout gave runners a modest edge in speed during a 5K run when they were close to the finish line, new research shows.
The baked beetroot won out over the cranberry relish that served as a comparison, says Margaret Murphy, RD, a Chicago dietitian who conducted the research as a graduate student at St. Louis University.
''With the beetroot, they were 41 seconds faster at the finish," and that could make the difference between a win or not among competitive amateur runners, she says.
The study was presented at the American Dietetic Association's Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo here in San Diego.
Beetroot and Exercise
For exercise performance, "there has been a lot of interest in beetroot juice for the last couple of years," Murphy tells WebMD. A study from the U.K., for instance, found that exercisers could work out longer if they drank beetroot juice.