At that time, the theory was that the nitrate contained in beet root juice leads to a reduction in oxygen uptake, making exercise less tiring.
The researchers weren’t sure of the exact mechanism that caused the nitrate in the beet root juice to boost stamina, but they suspected that it could be a result of the nitrate turning into nitric oxide in the body, reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.
And they were right.
In a study published today, researchers were able to demonstrate that the nitrate found in beetroot juice was in fact the cause of its beneficial effects upon cardiovascular health by increasing the levels of the gas nitric oxide in the circulation.
And it goes beyond improving athletic performance.
According to the research, test subjects who consumed either 250 ml of beetroot juice or an equivalent inorganic nitrate supplement were able to lower their blood pressure within 24 hours. And considering that cardiovascular disease is the world’s biggest killer, having a natural solution to hypertension is pretty damn awesome.