Pounding the streets for hours every day in preparation for a marathon? Sit down and drink some beetroot juice instead.

Drinking a glass of beetroot juice has been found to boost stamina, allowing people to endure strenuous physical exercise for longer.

Research, which was published in the “Journal of Applied Physiology,” shows that the nitrate in beetroot juice leads to a reduction in oxygen uptake, slowing the rate at which a person becomes exhausted. Those drinking the juice can exercise for 16 percent longer.

The scientists behind the study said that the reduction in oxygen use was greater than that achieved by any other known means, including training. The findings could be of interest to endurance athletes, elderly people or those with cardiovascular, respiratory or metabolic diseases, they added.

The research team, led by the University of Exeter, in England, conducted the study with eight men ages 19 to 38. They were given 500 milliliters of organic beetroot juice a day for six consecutive days before completing a series of tests, involving cycling on an exercise bike. On another occasion, they were given a placebo of blackcurrant cordial for six consecutive days before completing the same cycling tests.

After drinking beetroot juice the group was able to cycle for an average of 11 minutes, 25 seconds — 92 seconds longer than when using the placebo. The group that consumed the beetroot juice also had lower resting blood pressure.

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