Pre-workout veggie boosts muscle nearly 10%

Beets have always confused me. They’re red like an apple but grown in the ground like a potato.

Needless to say, I’ve pretty much avoided them most of my life.

But reading the research has convinced me that beets, particularly in liquid form, are a powerful way I can promote healthier, more elastic blood vessels, a “younger-acting” brain, a stronger heart and more endurance… I’d be foolish not to make beets part of my diet.

And now, science is figuring out that not only can beets up my endurance for just about any activity — they can help my muscle get more out of every workout…

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Amazing “Can’t be Beet” Superfood Helps Keep Nitric Oxide Levels Up!


Dietary nitrate: the key ingredient

Dietary nitrate is the active molecule found in beetroot juice.

The important thing to know about nitrate is that it helps the body produce nitric oxide (NO), a signaling molecule that tells blood vessels to relax, expand and open wide so that blood can flow easily to all parts of the body.  

This, of course, has a positive effect on blood pressure and heart rate.

Recent research, though, points to NO’s ability to lend more endurance to our muscles. This is significant when it comes to exercising, but it matters a lot more than that…

Nitrate makes muscles almost ten percent stronger

It is already well-known that dietary nitrate boosts endurance and makes high-intensity exercise easier.

But researchers at the University of Exeter and the U.S. National Institutes of Health wanted to find out precisely where in the body dietary nitrate is active, so they could get some clues on the mechanisms that are at work.

They worked with ten healthy volunteers, tracing the distribution of orally ingested nitrate in their saliva, blood, muscle, and urine.

An hour after taking dietary nitrate, participants were asked to do sixty contractions of the quadriceps (the muscle in the thigh that’s active when you straighten your knee).

The researchers found a significant increase in nitrate levels in the muscle as a result.

But not only that: this nitrate “boost” caused a seven percent increase in muscle force.

In other words, the presence of nitrate made the muscle stronger.

“Excitingly, this latest study provides the best evidence to date on the mechanisms behind why dietary nitrate improves human muscle performance,” says Andy Jones, Professor of Applied Physiology at the University of Exeter.

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Good for more than just exercise and endurence

“This study provides the first direct evidence that muscle nitrate levels are important for exercise performance, presumably by acting as a source of nitric oxide,” says Dr. Barbora Piknova, research collaborator and staff scientist at the National Institutes of Health.

But Dr. Piknova doesn’t stop there.

“These results have significant implications not only for the exercise field, but possibly for other medical areas such as those targeting neuromuscular and metabolic diseases related to nitric oxide deficiency.”

What exactly are those metabolic risks? Decreased blood flow and high blood pressure for starters.

It’s pretty clear that this weird vegetable I’ve been avoiding all my life is powerful stuff!

The good news is, there are plenty of ways to get your beets. A quick Google search can provide plenty of recipes, like beet wraps with hummus.

One of the easiest ways to boost your nitric oxide is by drinking beet juice. One eight-ounce cup of beet juice contains approximately four beets, so expect to get four times the nutrients from drinking just one glass of this superfood.

Beetroot juice is available in most grocery stores, and on the health food aisle, you’ll probably find beet powder, to mix with water, juice or smoothies.

L-arginine, in supplement form or available in most protein-rich foods, can also help the body produce NO, in case you just can’t embrace beets.

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Dietary nitrate — found in beetroot juice — significantly increases muscle force during exercise — Science Daily

15N-labeled dietary nitrate supplementation increases human skeletal muscle nitrate concentration and improves muscle torque production — Acta Physiologica

Beetroot peptide as potential drug candidate for treating diseases — Science Daily

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.