Leicester City’s secret weapon: Beetroot juice
Speaking to the BBC, the East-Midlands based team detailed how the consumption of this root vegetable coupled with an innovative training regimen created a perfect model for success.
Along with taking beetroot shots as a performance enhancer, a questionnaire was given to each player to track sleep patterns.
This was so they could tailor what they ate and drank in order to get the best quality of rest possible.
The consumption of beetroot juice may have also had a post-recovery effect on the players as it was also revealed the team suffered the fewest injuries, and used fewer players than any other Premier League club this season.
Beetroot juice has been the subject of a wealth of studies designed to uncover its properties and unique mechanisms of action.
According to recent scientific research, beetroot juice could decrease muscle soreness caused by vigorous exercise via an anti-inflammatory process.
In addition, it is believed that the nitrates found in beetroot can also lower blood-pressure and increase stamina, although the latter has been disputed.
The use of food supplements and sports nutrition products are now considered crucial to get the best out of elite athletes both on the field and in recovery.
Along with a well-balanced diet, supplements such as caffeine and creatine have been mentioned as sports food supplements of choice for one of Leicester’s title rivals, Arsenal.
Quite how the use of these supplements have added to the team’s performance is unclear as the North London team look to limp into fourth place in the table, after yet another mid-March title collapse.
Sports nutrition is not limited to elite sports. Recent research, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, adds further weight to the case for beetroot juice as a superfood for amateur sports players and athletes.
The University of Exeter researchers tested beetroot juice on sportsmen, who were all members of rugby, hockey or football teams.
They found those who had consumed the nitrate-rich version saw an improvement in both sprint performance (3.5%) and speed of making decisions (3%) without hindering decision accuracy.
Although the study found marginal gains in performance, incremental improvements in the football world are highly valued. Collectively this can make the difference between a successful title challenge and London club Tottenham Hotpsur looking to finish second - aka first losers.
According to Chris Schmidt, senior consumer health analyst at Euromonitor, sports nutrition has become a €67 billion industry worldwide.
Western European sales have grown by more than 50% since 2010, said Schimdt with ordinary consumers having increased access to a broad array of innovative products from local producers. In addition, pure-play online retailers have captured substantial shares of major markets.