Suffolk's beetroot key for 2012 hopefuls

SUFFOLK may hold the secret to Olympic success in 2012.

SUFFOLK may hold the secret to Olympic success in 2012.

Beetroot juice produced in the county can boost stamina and help athletes exercise longer, according to scientists.

Organic juice manufacturer James White, based in Ashbocking, supplied juice for the trial published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Eight men, aged between 19 and 38, were given 500ml of James White's organic beetroot juice, Beet It, for six consecutive days before completing a series of tests involving cycling on an exercise bike.

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After drinking the juice, the group was able to cycle for an average of 11.25 minutes - 92 seconds longer than when they were given a placebo.

The trial, conducted at the University of Exeter, revealed drinking beetroot juice reduces oxygen uptake to an extent that cannot be achieved by any other known means.

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Lawrence Mallinson, managing director of James White, said: “There seems to be no limit to the potential for this amazing juice.

“We knew it played a role in reducing high blood pressure and now it might even be our secret weapon in the next Olympics.”

Top sports scientist, Professor Andy Jones, said: “Our study showed that nitrate-rich food can increase exercise endurance.

“We were amazed by the effects of beetroot juice.”

The researchers are not yet sure what makes beetroot juice nature's steroid but suspect it could be a result of the nitrate turning into nitric oxide in the body, reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.

The study follows research published in February 2008, in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, which found that beetroot juice reduces blood pressure.

The research team hopes to conduct further studies to analyse the effects of nitrate-rich foods on exercise.

Other 'superfoods' and their healthy properties:

Broccoli - Full of antioxidants and vitamin C as well as being a good source of naturally occurring folic acid - thought to prevent heart disease. Also rumoured to fend off impaired vision and blindness in old age.

Salmon - Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and omega 3 which can reduce blood clotting.

Oily fish can reduce the risk of heart attacks and improve your general mood.

Blueberries - Contain antioxidants that may reduce the risk of some diseases including certain cancers.

Research suggests they may slow down Alzheimer's, help prevent urinary tract infections and control blood pressure.

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