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Beetroot Juice May Boost Breathing Power

According to a new study published in Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, drinking a single shot of beetroot juice can improve breath-holding time by up to 11 percent.

For the study, a team of Swedish researchers recruited 12 volunteers who were trained in breath-hold diving. Study participants were given either a 70mL shot of beetroot juice or a placebo drink, and then asked to hold their breath as long as possible.

After drinking the beetroot, participants were able to hold their breath 11 percent longer (an additional 28 seconds) than after drinking the placebo.

The study’s lead author was quoted: “Apparently by enabling the body to reduce oxygen consumption, drinking concentrated beetroot juice has delivered significant extension of breath holding time. We are currently experimenting on if this may also be able to help climbers at high altitude and hope to report on the results soon.”

Previous research has shown that beetroot increases levels of nitric oxide in the body, allowing muscles to work more efficiently and demand less oxygen. These nitrates have also been shown to help lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.

Some top level athletes, such as elite marathon runners and swimmers, are already using beetroot shots to enhance physical stamina and athletic performance. And for good reason. A study published just last month linked beet consumption to improved running performance.

Want to boost your own breathing power? Juices and smoothies are a great way to sneak some beets into your diet!

Image Credit: Farmanac iPhone app/Flickr