Q: Does beet juice really make that big a difference with exercise endurance? —Leroy N., Olympia, WA
Quite a few professional athletes have claimed that beet juice makes a difference. Some even refer to it as “legal blood doping.” Paralympian David Weir credits the four gold medals he won at the 2012 Paralympics to downing shots of beet juice.
And science backs him up. Researchers at the University of Exeter found that the nitrates occurring naturally in beets can widen blood vessels and reduce the amount of oxygen muscles need to perform. Not only does this lower your blood pressure, it also increases stamina considerably, and could help you exercise up to 16% longer than you would without it.