As athletes, we are always looking for ways to become more efficient in our training so why not take advantage of this nutritional "freebie."
One of the benefits of adding beets to your diet (also known as blood turnips, garden beets or red beets), is that they have proven to be one of the best, all-natural performance enhancers for athletes who want to increase their endurance. This is mainly due to their naturally high concentration of nitrates.
Research is still at an early stage but studies have shown that the dietary nitrates in beets when converted to nitric oxide in the body helps to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your working muscles. Nitrates may also improve how efficiently your muscles process the work being done, meaning less energy is needed to produce the same amount of work, such as the amount of time it takes to get from A to B.
When selecting your vegetable sources, a good rule of thumb to note, is that natural (not a supplement) is always the better choice. Please also keep in mind that beets contain fiber so consuming them before a long workout or a race may not be the best choice until you know how your body will react!
If you aren’t a fan of drinking beetroot juice on its own, you could try one of the beetroot salads found on Allrecipes.com.
You could even try the more portable option of a homemade protein bar recipe made with beets found on PaleOmazing. Intolerant or allergic to milk and/or gluten? This recipe is gluten free and you can replace the whey protein powder with a plant brand if you like! The honey can also be replaced with agave syrup although agave syrup is slightly sweeter than honey but is also less viscous. These bars are great to keep in the freezer for quick on the go snacks.
- 1 small cooked beet (palm sized)
- ¾ cup coconut flour
- 1⁄4 cup grass-fed whey vanilla protein powder
- 1 tablespoon natural almond or cashew butter or any other nut butter
- 1⁄4 cup almond milk
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup 70-80% dark chocolate
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil