Brain food

Don’t stop at fuelling your body for peak performance – you need to feed your brain, too.

by Sarah Ivory

 5 of 10 

The motivation booster - natural nitrates


Paralympic superstar David Weir is known for his determination – and he’s also known to fuel his performance with nitrate-rich beetroot. Coincidence? We think not. Research from the University of Exeter shows high levels of nitrate, found in beetroot, are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide widens blood vessels, and further findings from Wake Forest University in the US show this may have a direct effect on mental power by boosting blood flow to the frontal lobe, an area of the brain linked to motivation and attention span.


Have two beetroot juice shots (about 0.6g of nitrates each) a few hours before speedwork, or four shots before a distance run. Exeter University research suggests the effect of nitrate peaks two to three hours after consumption. Not a beetroot fan? Swedish research discovered that taking 500mg of nitrate as a supplement works, too. Take two SiS Go+ Nitrate gels (£1.90, daily, for six days before a race.

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