Beetroot juice, commonly known as beet juice, is a popular superfood drink made by juicing beets. It has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its many touted health and performance benefits. But can simply taking a shot of beet juice provide all these advantages? Let’s take a closer look.
Beet juice is rich in nitrates, which get converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps dilate and relax blood vessels, resulting in increased blood flow and oxygen delivery throughout the body. This is why beet juice is often used by athletes for boosting energy and stamina.
Some research has found that drinking beet juice can lower blood pressure, enhance exercise performance, and reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. But many of these studies have used a concentrated beet juice shot along with regular beet juice consumption.
So does this mean gulping down just one beet shot is enough to reap all these benefits? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Here’s why:
Nitrate content in beet juice
The nitrate content present in beetroots is one of the biggest reasons for its health benefits. When nitrates are consumed, friendly bacteria in our mouth convert it into nitric oxide, which then gets absorbed into the bloodstream. The more nitrates we consume, the more nitric oxide gets produced.
Most studies demonstrating the benefits of beet juice have used juice with a high nitrate content between 300-400 mg per dose. This requires juicing at least 2-3 whole beetroots.
Now let’s compare that to a typical 1-2 oz beet juice shot which may contain only 70-100 mg of nitrates. This is far lower than the optimal therapeutic dose.
So a single shot of beet juice is unlikely to deliver enough nitrates to significantly boost nitric oxide levels and drive the associated benefits.
Ongoing consumption is key
Another important factor is that the health benefits of beet juice require ongoing consumption, not just a single dose.
For instance, one study found that blood pressure lowered by 10 mmHg after drinking beet juice daily for 4 weeks. Other research saw a 16% boost in cycling performance in athletes who drank beet juice for 6 days straight.
The body’s nitrate levels quickly return to normal levels within 24 hours. So there needs to be a regular intake for sustained effects rather than relying on an isolated shot.
Potential benefits from a beet juice shot
While a lone beet shot may not be enough, it can still offer a temporary energy boost thanks to the quick spike in nitrates and nitric oxide. Some athletes use this strategy before short high-intensity activities like sprints.
A shot of beet juice may also provide other benefits like:
– Antioxidants for combatting oxidative damage
– Vitamins and minerals like folate, potassium, magnesium etc.
– Betalains for reducing inflammation
– Dietary nitrates for boosting exercise performance
However, the extent of these benefits cannot match up to what is possible through ongoing beet juice consumption.
Recommendations for beet juice intake
Here are some tips on how to get the maximum benefits from beet juice:
– Drink 2-3 oz of beet juice 1-2 times a day. This will provide an adequate daily nitrate dosage.
– Use a nitrate-rich beet juice that guarantees at least 200-400 mg of nitrates per serving.
– For pre-workout benefits, have a bigger 6-8 oz serving of concentrated beet juice 2-3 hours before exercise.
– Include whole beetroots in your diet in addition to juicing them. This provides complementary benefits from beet fiber.
– Be patient and maintain a regular beet juice regimen for at least 2 weeks to notice sustained effects.
The bottom line
So in conclusion, while a quick beet juice shot does provide a temporary boost, it is not enough to obtain all the touted benefits of beet juice. You need to drink larger, nitrate-rich servings daily over a period of time. Still, taking an occasional shot does offer some advantages and also promotes the habit of drinking beet juice regularly. Ultimately, consistency is key when it comes to reaping the many health and performance perks of beetroot juice.
|Jones et al. (2018)
|Drinking 140 ml beetroot juice containing ~352 mg nitrate for 4 weeks lowered blood pressure by ~10 mmHg in healthy adults.
|Thompson et al. (2016)
|6 days of 140 ml beetroot juice supplementation (~368 mg nitrate/day) improved cycling time trial performance in competitive male cyclists by 2.8%.
|Wylie et al. (2013)
|Ingestion of a ~70 ml beetroot juice shot containing ~370 mg nitrate 2.5 hours before cycling increased power output in recreational cyclists.
– A 1-2 oz beet juice shot contains only 70-100 mg nitrates, much lower than the 300-400 mg in studies.
– The benefits of beet juice like lowered blood pressure require ongoing consumption, not just a single dose.
– A beet shot may provide temporary energy/performance boost but not long-term advantages.
– For results, drink 2-3 oz beet juice 1-2 times daily providing at least 200-400 mg of nitrates.
– Include whole beets and maintain a regular beet juice regimen for at least 2 weeks.
So in summary, while an occasional beet juice shot does have some merit, it is not a replacement for drinking nitrate-rich juices regularly over time to obtain the full spectrum of beetroot juice benefits. Moderation and consistency is key.