Beeting Altitude Sickness with Beet Juice

Posted on Posted in Tips

One of the reasons that people experience Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) when going from sea level to high altitude is because when we are at high altitude, our bodies have a hard time producing nitric oxide. This is because there is less oxygen at high altitude. Without ample nitric oxide, our blood vessels contract and this leads to decreased blood flow to muscles and organs, which makes you feel fatigued and spend less time on the slopes.

I sure am glad we remembered to drink our beet juice!
I sure am glad we remembered to drink our beet juice!

The good news is that a recent study shows that there is something very simple and natural that you can do to help your body make more nitric oxide so you can ski more and avoid AMS . Beet juice is very high in nitrates, which our bodies use to create more nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and increases performance and lessens AMS. Simply drinking beet juice can help you adjust faster to altitude and ski more.

Why drink beet juice instead of eating beets?

Cooking beets decreases the concentration of nitrates. Beet juice is made with raw beets. Plus, you would need to eat quite a few raw beets to get the same amount of nitrates as in beet juice. shutterstock_152646443

How much beet juice do I need to drink?

Studies typically show benefit to blood vessels with 500mL of beet juice. This is about 2 cups worth.  You can also buy concentrated shots of beet juice if you don’t want to drink that much.

When should I drink beet juice?

Changes in blood vessel function were observed 3 hours after ingesting beet juice. Other studies show that peak concentration of plasma nitrite also occurs 3 hours after drinking beet juice. Drinking beet juice as you ascend to high altitude, whether driving or on a plane, is ideal. Drinking beet juice each morning while at high altitude may be a good idea.

Got any recipes?

Of course we do! Check out these recipes for how to enjoy beet juice, even while you’re away from home.

© Diana Sugiuchi, RDN/LDN

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