The Best Vegan Bodybuilding Foods Pt. 6

Here I am again with another installment of my Best Vegan Bodybuilding Foods series. It’s been about 4 months since the previous installment, where I covered bananas.

This time around I will be covering beets!

Beets have been receiving a lot of attention lately due to their performance enhancing benefits. Even I have dropped pre-workout coffee, and have replaced it with beetroot powder.

While I would normally just consume the whole beets, I personally feel nauseated if I eat ANYTHING prior to lifting.

As I’ve mentioned, I prefer to lift about five hours after a previous meal, or in some instances, fasted in the morning.

With beetroot powder, I can get a concentrated dosing of beets in a single tablespoon, without really filling my stomach.

Otherwise, I do prefer to consume whole food beets — like on salads. In fact, typically on salads. Sometimes in juice blends, along with ginger, spinach, apples, etc.

First and foremost beetroot juice contains an active component known as inorganic nitrates, which the body then metabolizes into bioactive nitrites, which further converts into functional nitrogen oxides, including nitric oxide.

And, as most bros know… boosting nitric oxide production can enhance the pump.

But, that’s not where the benefits from those inorganic nitrates from beets end.

They also play a role in enhancing exercise tolerance, reducing blood pressure, lowering the oxygen cost of cardiovascular exercise, as well as enhancing muscular contraction!

But, since this series is all about bodybuilding, I am going to focus on the anabolic, muscle and strength benefits.

Beets also contain a compound called betaine, also known as trimethylglycine.

In placebo-controlled research, pre-workout betaine consumption has been shown to reduce cortisol, while elevating both IGF-1 and growth hormone AFTER a session intense resistance exercise.

This demonstrates that betaine, a compound found in beets, improves anabolism, while reducing catabolism. Potentially enhancing protein synthesis.

In a 2016 study on college-aged, resistance trained males, beetroot juice concentrate was found to improve the number of reps performed on the bench press by 20%!

The students used 60% of their 1 rep maxes on the bench press for 3 sets to failure, resting only 2 minutes between sets.

However, it should be noted, that study had a very small sample size of 12, and lasted only 6 days. Thus, more research is certainly needed.

On that note, I would expect to see more and more research to come on this fantastic food. This is really just the beginning, as we start to explore the potential of beets.

That being said, I didn’t even cover the existing research on how beetroot improves 5K times, makes team sport players faster, and even exerts EPO effects in cyclists… but, as I said, I wanted to focus on muscle, strength and anabolism benefits with this episode.

The series is called Best Vegan Bodybuilding Foods, after all.

Before I depart, let’s look at one more thing. The nutritional content of beets.

A single beet, or approx. 82 grams, packs only 35 calories. Yet, it is a dietary source of vitamins C and B6, magnesium, iron and calcium, as well as dietary fiber and a little protein.

They are very easy to incorporate into a strict, athletic vegan diet, to reap the performance and health benefits.

Anyhow… please stir up conversation below.

REFERENCES

Nitrate Ingestion: A Review of the Health and Physical Performance Effects http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245587/

The anabolic effect of betaine http://www.ergo-log.com/the-anabolic-effect-of-betaine.html

Betaine supplementation enhances anabolic endocrine and Akt signaling in response to acute bouts of exercise. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22976217

Bodybuilders manage twenty percent more reps with beetroot juice http://ergo-log.com/bodybuilders-manage-twenty-percent-more-reps-with-beetroot-juice.html

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