Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Boost your aerobic fitness with vegetarian nitrate

Everyone knows vegetables are good for us in many ways: health, looks, weight-control, even strength. But wait, there's more: latest scientific studies show vegetarian nitrate can boost our aerobic fitness too.

According to a new study, dietary nitrate reduces oxygen cost of sub-maximal exercise and enhances the tolerance for high-intensity exercise. In this case, half a liter of beetroot juice was taken daily.

There is another study published in 2007 that concludes: "Dietary nitrate supplementation, in an amount achievable through a diet rich in vegetables, results in a lower oxygen demand during submaximal work. This highly surprising effect occurred without an accompanying increase in lactate concentration, indicating that the energy production had become more efficient."

Previously nitrate was usually regarded as an inevitable price for all the good stuff. This new surprising information certainly encourages fitness enthusiasts to eat their vegetables - and nitrates too!

Finally, I'd like to add a few points:
  • Best natural nitrate sources include lettuce, celery, fennel, spinach, radish, chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, pumpkin, rucola, basil, parsley and beetroot.
  • Also courgette, celeriac, carrot, leek, broccoli and other cabbages may contain a high amount of nitrate.
  • Cooking vegetables will reduce their nitrate levels, so it would be more effective to eat them raw.
  • The toxicity of nitrate is low. Nitrites are much more toxic and may cause various adverse effects. Some of the dietary nitrate will be reduced to nitrite. However normal intake of nitrate from vegetables is unlikely to cause health problems (except for infants possibly).
  • Meat products account for most of the nitrite consumed.
  • Fruit, grains and dairy products don't contribute to dietary nitrate (or nitrite).

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