UK: Beetroot juice could help musicians hold breath

Fresh Plaza: Beetroot juice may be the key to holding breath for longer periods - useful news for players of wind instruments and singers, for example. The juice helps the body perform more efficiently because it contains high levels of nitrate, which once inside the body is broken down into a compound called nitric oxide. This, in turn helps muscles to perform at the same level as usual but whilst using less oxygen to do so. Researchers from Mid Sweden University and the University of Exeter were asked by the producers of BEET-IT, a brand of concentrated beetroot juice, to test its effects on trained divers. It turned out that participants in the experiment could hold their breath for up to half a minute more than usual after consumption of just 70ml of beetroot juice. Participants who drank the juice lasted an average of four minutes and 38 seconds before resurfacing compared with four minutes and 10 seconds for those given a placebo – an improvement of 11 per cent. This news follows the results of other studies carried out over the past year that reveal beetroot juice can help improve athletic performance. Harald Engan, who led the study, said: "Apparently by enabling the body to reduce oxygen consumption, drinking concentrated beetroot juice has delivered significant extension of breath holding time. "We are currently experimenting on if this may also be able to help climbers at high altitude and hope to report on the results soon.Source: Fresh Plaza

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