What Olympians Drink to Juice Up
The New York Times’ Gretchen Reynolds shares with readers the Olympians’ choice of sports drinks: beetroot juice and tart cherry juice. She also shares available evidence of their efficacy, which, in the case of beetroot juice, is impressive. For tart cherry juice, there’s a different kind of gain. Reynolds tells us that a series of studies in the past two years have shown that beetroot juice does enhance certain types of athletic performance. “In a representative study published last year,” she writes, “cyclists who ingested half a liter of beetroot juice before a 2.5-mile or a 10-mile time trial were almost 3 percent faster than when they rode unjuiced. They also produced more power with each pedal stroke.” Research at the University of Exeter in England, says Reynolds, suggests that beetroot juice improves blood and oxygen flow to muscles. The tart cherry juice, made from Montmorency cherries, appears to be less effective as a performance enhancer, but more effective as a reducer of pain and weakness caused by exertion. Reynolds reports that racers in the annual Hood to Coast 196-mile relay race in Oregon reported significantly less pain after the race if they drank tart cherry juice in the week beforehand. Read more from Gretchen Reynolds.