If you thought that the only use for beetroot was as an unpopular pickled condiment at BBQs, it’s time to take another look at this earthy root vegetable – or, rather, what it contains.
Beetroots, like several other vegetables, are a wonderful source of nitrates.
But what has this got to do with football and improving your game? Quite a lot as it turns out. It’s time to explore the world of nitrate supplements and see how they can give you the edge during your next match.
What are Nitrates?
Before we answer this, we need to understand nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is a gas produced by the human body and plays many roles, including regulating blood flow and reducing blood pressure, while allowing nutrients to effectively travel to all areas of the body.
In terms of football, nitrate oxide is thought to improve muscle efficiency by reducing the oxygen cost of exercise. This means that you can often perform harder, without needing as much oxygen. The payoff of this is that you can perform for longer with less fatigue. If you have ever felt heavy legged during the second half of a match, nitrate oxide could be worth paying attention to.
Higher levels of nitric oxide could also improve sprint speed and the ability to sprint repeatedly, while it could also potentially help you recover faster, as studies suggest that nitric oxide may help decrease muscle soreness.
In short, nitric oxide is an important substance in the body and having enough of it is vital for footballers of any level.
So, where do nitrates come into this?
To maintain nitric oxide in the body, we need a constant supply of nitrates from our diet. Inorganic nitrate is abundant in vegetables such as the aforementioned beetroot, as well as green leafy vegetables including spinach, rocket, celery and watercress.
When you consume these foods, your body will convert the nitrates into the all-important nitric oxide. Therefore, incorporating these foods into your daily diet is never a bad thing, although you probably didn’t need us to tell you that eating more vegetables was a good idea…
What About Nitrate Supplements?
While eating lots veg may be sensible, let’s face it – nobody wants to be tucking into a plate of beetroot moments before a match.
This is where nitrate supplements come in. While they don’t contain nitric oxide itself, they contain the same nitrates sourced from vegetables, and consuming these nitrates gives your body the go ahead to produce more nitric oxide.
The advantage of supplements is that they are condensed into something that is easier to consume and digest than a bowl of watercress or half a litre of beetroot juice.
For example, our Pro Grade Nitrate Shots combine nitrates from a blend of three different sources comprising beetroot juice concentrate, rhubarb juice concentrate, and amaranth leaf extract – all in a single mixed berry flavoured shot.
This delivers 400mg of nitrates per serving, along with your daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. Taking these shots can help improve critical aspects of footballer performance, such as stamina and the ability to maintain short bursts of intense sprinting.
When and How to Take Nitrate Supplements
Eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep and ensuring optimum hydration are all imperative, and doing this will give you a solid foundation from which to build your game. When you are doing these things consistently, then supplements can work wonders.
Nitrate supplementation should be structured in a similar way to carb loading before a match, in that you should stock your system with an ample supply. Studies suggest that ongoing nitrates supplementation can further enhance performance compared to a supplementation solely before you lace up your boots.
Therefore, for the best results, we recommend taking at least one to two Pro Grade Nitrate Shots per day for three days before your match, then one shot on matchday, around 90 minutes before kick-off.
Note that while nitrate supplements are very safe to consume, with no side effects, they should only be used by footballers aged 16 years and older.
So, whether you decide to give nitrate supplements a go or plan a trip to the nearest beetroot farm, good luck with your hunt for the edge!
Want to #UpYourGame? Try our Inform Sports tested ProGrade Nitrate Shots today!