The Nectar of the Gods - YUCK!

There seems to be a strong belief among different groups of endurance athletes that drinking beet juice is beneficial for training and racing. The thought is that beets (also kale and swiss chard) are high in nitrates which can lead to the production of nitric oxide, which can cause blood vessels to expand and allow more blood to be carried through them. (Of note here is that this is the basis of how drugs like Viagra work.)

I've been trying beet juice for myself and it DOES seem to have at least some small effect. It seems as though going from rest to full effort is less of a steep slope. Also, it may help speed recovery, but I am less sure of that. What I am sure of is that beet juice tastes God-awful, especially the aftertaste. I've been drinking about 1/2 cup (~120 ml) in the morning, about 45-60 minutes before swimming.

Does anyone else have any experience with this?

-LBJ

“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

Comments

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    I've heard of that, and know that there is a beet juice company that sponsors some endurance athletes.

    I also know that I remember beets tasting awful, and I'll stick with my two favorite recovery beverages, red bull and whiskey. Not at the same time, though.

    CamillessthomaskejoyceSoloJaimieCopelj26
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    50% carrot, 50% beet, 50% celery

    (math is hard)

    JustSwimdpm50MaryStellaDeborahCopelj26sosophiaphia

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest

    The berry version of this has beet in it. I have used and and find it works well, although I am not a fan of sweet for longer swims. I gave it to a friend to use during a 4 hour exam. Definitely kept her alert.

    https://myvega.com/vega-sport-electrolyte-hydrator

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    My mom is constantly telling me that I should drink beet juice, even though she knows I hate beets. I endured going to my room and being grounded to avoid eating them as a kid! I tried to explain to her that drinking something that nasty before swimming will be 3 times worse when it comes back up. She sneaks beets into this chocolate mousse she makes and it's fine when the taste is completely camouflaged by chocolate, but still not something I'd eat before swimming. This is a thing my mom does, still trying to get us to eat things we don't like. It's gotten bad enough that my brother always asks "mom, is there bananas in this?" before trying dessert.

    Camilledpm50Pasquale

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member

    There are some people whose genes have determined that beets will taste like dirt. There are others who think beets taste divine. I am lucky to be in the latter category. But as someone who tastes cilantro solely as dish soap, I have sympathy and empathy for those who taste beets as dirt.

    FWIW.

    Solodpm50Jaimieswimfreeordie
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    LOL! Cilantro is the best! I can't get enough of that. I always have it in my garden and love when the dogs have rolled in it, they smell nice. Funny how taste works!

    dpm50gregoc

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    I didn't know beets were genetic, too! I knew that about cilantro, but not beets. I hate beets and love cilantro. Mystery solved. :-)

    rosemarymint
  • Also genetic, 10% of the population pees red/pink after eating beets. The more you know!

    DanSimonelliMaryStellarosemarymintJaimieswimfreeordiegregoc
  • I am so glad to finally understand my loathing of beets! I have read a lot and my swim team was just talking about the beet juice recovery drink- I just can't get on board, I hear beets and think EWWW! Now chocolate milk- that is a great recovery drink!

    ssthomasrosemarymint
  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    kejoyce said: Also genetic, 10% of the population pees red/pink after eating beets. The more you know!

    Only 10% !?! I thought that was normal. I like beets and eat them at dinner every now and then. Then I completely freak out for a moment in the morning when I pee.

    Leonard_Jansen said: The thought is that beets (also kale and swiss chard) are high in nitrates which can lead to the production of nitric oxide, which can cause blood vessels to expand and allow more blood to be carried through them. (Of note here is that this is the basis of how drugs like Viagra work.)

    I'm also surprised that nobody jumped on Leonard's comment. That is just waiting for humor but I can't think of anything brilliant to say...

    DanSimonellirosemarymint
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    I may be an outlier. ... I have no strong feelings either way about beets.... like them all right but they're not on my grocery list lol! :)

    Not sure if Id want to use beet juice alone as a sports drink, but maybe w other juices and/or a shot of rum. ;)

    rosemarymint said: There are some people whose genes have determined that beets will taste like dirt. There are others who think beets taste divine. I am lucky to be in the latter category. But as someone who tastes cilantro solely as dish soap, I have sympathy and empathy for those who taste beets as dirt.

    FWIW.

  • BridgetBridget New York StateMember

    Leonard_Jansen said: The thought is that beets (also kale and swiss chard) are high in nitrates which can lead to the production of nitric oxide, which can cause blood vessels to expand and allow more blood to be carried through them. (Of note here is that this is the basis of how drugs like Viagra work.)

    I'm also surprised that nobody jumped on Leonard's comment. That is just waiting for humor but I can't think of anything brilliant to say...

    Never fear, Curly, I'm here to help.

    Not to say kale and swiss chard don't have great benefits, but for boosting blood volume, Viagra seems to only be a very short term solution (or pill). For many activities, that "lasting longer than 4 hours, see your doctor" concern may mean that nitrates aren't the best way.

    For a legal way to essentially blood dope, you need pregnancy. Two hearts, massive increase in blood volume. Of course, that is not open to everyone.

    This may not be the sort of brilliant you were hoping for, but it worked for me. ;) A triathlon for each of the first two trimesters of my last child, and an open water the third trimester. ;)

    dpm50
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