A Surprising Way to Juice Your Workout

Beet juice could make exercise feel easier.

Medically reviewed in April 2021

Updated on February 3, 2022

Next time you’re looking for a workout beverage, try thinking outside the bottle. Recent research puts the spotlight on an unusual choice: beet juice, also called beetroot juice.

Multiple studies have demonstrated benefits to exercisers and athletes who drink the red stuff. It has been shown to improve heart and lung endurance by increasing efficiency. The result: better performance and a longer time before hitting exhaustion level. That means exercise can actually feel easier.

A fitness booster
Beet juice's exercise-enhancing power likely comes from the nitrates in beets. This is supported by a 2017 study of 32 soccer players published in Nutrients. The participants were split into two groups—one drinking regular beet juice each day and the other drinking beet juice stripped of its nitrate content. None of the participants knew which of the two juice types they were drinking.

Sure enough, exercise became easier only for the juice-with-nitrates group. The nitrate group was able to run farther at fast speeds, with a lower heart rate.

Big beet benefits
Our bodies convert the nitrates in beet juice to nitrites, helpful compounds that can dilate blood vessels, increase blood flow, and reduce the amount of oxygen muscles need to do work. Beets also contain antioxidants that may help protect against oxidative stress caused by exercise.

Here are a few more strategies for making your workouts feel easier:

Article sources open article sources

Domínguez R, Cuenca E, Maté-Muñoz JL, García-Fernández P, Serra-Paya N, Estevan MC, Herreros PV, Garnacho-Castaño MV. Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017 Jan 6;9(1):43.
Stander Z, Luies L, van Reenen M, Howatson G, Keane KM, Clifford T, Stevenson EJ, Loots DT. Beetroot juice - a suitable post-marathon metabolic recovery supplement? J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2021 Dec 3;18(1):72.
Nyakayiru J, Jonvik KL, Trommelen J, et al. Beetroot Juice Supplementation Improves High-Intensity Intermittent Type Exercise Performance in Trained Soccer Players. Nutrients. 2017;9(3):314. Published 2017 Mar 22.

More On

5 snacks nutritionists eat every day

video

5 snacks nutritionists eat every day
Kiwi holds a surprising health benefit!
Alcohol and Cancer: What's the Connection?

article

Alcohol and Cancer: What's the Connection?
Drinking is associated with a laundry list of health risks—more than 200, if you’re keeping track. The more you drink, the greater your risk for one o...
8 Tricks for Healthier Chili

slideshow

8 Tricks for Healthier Chili
Craving comfort food? Here’s how to make sure your favorite spicy stew doesn't weigh you down.
Braised chicken thighs

video

Braised chicken thighs
5 ways to sneak more nutrition into kids' meals

video

5 ways to sneak more nutrition into kids' meals
Kids are often notoriously picky, so getting them to try and enjoy healthy foods can be tricky. In this video, pediatrician Tanya Remer Altmann, M.D. ...