Latest study reports in sports nutrition suggests that sports persons and athletes should include vegetables that are rich in nitrate, in their daily diet, to improve their physical strength and performance on field. The study also emphasized that sportspersons hailing from or taking part in events that are held at areas that lie above the sea level should strictly follow this diet as the amount of oxygen would be less in such areas. The lower level of oxygen present in the atmosphere may even affect the performance of the athletes.
Food rich in nitrate improve the muscle functions. The nitrate which reaches the body gets transformed into nitric oxides which amazingly aid blood flow. These play a vital role in transporting oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. It improves blood flow and control the blood pressure level. Besides, consuming food that has high nitrate content eases the breathing process as well.
Leafy vegetables like spinach, celery, lettuce, cabbage and broccoli are store houses of nitrate. Carrots and beetroots too contain nitrate which helps the smooth functioning of the muscles.
Sports events conducted at high altitudes have always created controversies. For instance, the stadiums for the 1968 Mexico Olympics were situated in the high ranges. This affected the performance of athletes from different countries. Many complaints were raised pointing out that the high altitude has severely affected the performance of many leading athletes. The level of oxygen in the high altitude areas would be around 30% lesser than the normal amount of oxygen that is found in the atmosphere. This may cause hypoxia which affects almost all the organs in the body. Most of the football stadiums in countries like Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Columbia are situated at areas that are above the sea level. Sportspersons who reach such places to compete in various sports events could sustain their energy and performance on field by eating lots of vegetables that are rich sources of nitrate.
This study was conducted among the people of Tibet which is about 4200 meters above the sea level.