More good news about beetroot, a favourite mood-boosting ingredient of mine for a while. Beetroot contains nitrate, which increases the energy available to muscle cells. A study published in 2016 by Exeter University, gave a group of people beetroot juice to drink, while others were given it with the nitrate taken out. “(The nitrate) seems to make muscles more efficient” reported Professor Andrew Jones of Exeter University, “Over 20 metres, people were going a couple of percent faster – which is pretty remarkable”.
So How Fast Did People Go?
Well, according to the study, 2 percent over 20 metres – enough for an advantage in sports events. It may also help old people climb stairs or run for the bus, experts have said¹. In my book ‘The Happy Kitchen’, I speak about how purple foods produce nitric oxide, a compound that, by relaxing blood vessels, may help blood flow as well as helping in other ways.
Exercise for Memory
One way purple foods help us is when we are exercising. A 2016 study in Current Biology at the Netherland’s Radboud University – similar to the one undertaken at Exeter University – showed 90 virtual objects to 72 people, asking them to remember their positions. They then split into three groups – one exercised immediately, one after 4 hours and the remaining one did no exercise. Two days later they came back and were tested on the memory task. Those who had exercised 4 hours after initially seeing the objects outperformed the others by about 8 percent².
This fits nicely with our thoughts in ‘The Happy Kitchen’ that bright purple foods may clear our minds. They certainly help me think straight. I’m off to enjoy my recipe ‘Cecilia’s Purple Risotto with Goat’s Cheese and Beetroot’, then heading out to my weekly dance class, which as readers of my earlier book ‘Walking on Sunshine’ will know is my favourite form of exercise. Until next time!