What do Vitamin D and beet juice have in common? Quite a bit, actually. Because both are on the cutting edge of research into ways to maximize athletic performance.
Two recent studies suggest that low levels of Vitamin D could increase an athlete’s risk of injury. A study of the Pittsburgh Steelers last year found that players with low vitamin D levels suffered more bone fractures than players with normal levels. And an earlier study of the New York Giants found a link between low vitamin D levels and injuries. Researchers are planning to study 320 NFL players to determine links between vitamin D and injuries.
And where do you get Vitamin D? Through foods such as fatty fish, eggs, some cereals and the sun.
And then there’s beet juice. It is loaded with nitrates that widen blood vessels and allow athletes to expend less energy while doing more work. The USC Athletic Department is out front in beating the drum for beet juice. And for good reason.
Last year the Trojan basketball team, without beet juice, finished dead last in its conference. This year, with each player chugging down a daily 4-ounce cup of the juice, the team made the March Madness Tournament for the first time in 5 years. Now that in itself, ofcourse, doesn’t prove the merits of beet juice. But there’s more.
USC football players and sprinters joined in, and coaches and athletes say the juice increased stamina and strength, lowered blood pressure, and allowed for longer workouts.
And a study by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis supports this anecdotal evidence. It found that beet juice increases maximum muscle power by 6%.
So, if you want to up your Vitamin D and nitrate levels here’s a menu and venue. The menu: Beet juice, Vitamin D-fortified Frosted Flakes (USC football players eat it daily), and D Fortified milk. The venue: The sunniest place you can find.