Beets are nutritional powerhouses that can improve your health, prevent disease and take your exercise performance up a notch! Here is the scoop on this tasty super food:
Excellent source of phytonutrients BETALAINS, which are potent antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects
The greens have high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, both important for healthy eyes and preventing macular degeneration
Good source of folate, manganese, potassium, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, iron, and B6
Beets are a great source of nitrates which can lower blood pressure and improve exercise performance
How to use them:
Cooking decreases nutrients, so limit exposure to heat
Juicing them or buying juice is a great way to get the health benefits
Fresh beets are great for salads and the greens are wonderful lightly sautéed
Beet juice powder is great in smoothies or added to yogurt, other juices, or in recipes instead of red food coloring
You may notice your urine or bowel movements have a red tinge, which is a normal (from the beet color) side effect
The greens are high in oxalates ,which can increase risk of kidney stones, so limit the green part if you are at a high risk for kidney stones. The root part does not have high levels of oxalates.
Most studies show the most benefit from 12-16 oz juice per day, taken in 2 doses since it stays in your system about 12 hours, peaking at 2-3 hours.
For sports performance, taking 6-8 oz juice 2 hours before exercise is shown to improve performance for runners, cyclists, and swimmers. Taking the beet juice or powder daily most likely offers the most benefit, or at least daily for a week before competition.
Remember that there is no magic food that will fix everything, and eating a healthy diet of whole foods, plenty of fruits and veggies, healthy fats, lean proteins, whole grains, and limited added sugar/processed foods is the best way to go! Adding in specific super foods can help make small improvements so you can Achieve Your Best!
My Beet Smoothie:
1 c. almond milk
2 scoops beet root powder (8 oz juice equivalent)
½ c. frozen mango
½ c. frozen berries
1 c. spinach or kale
1 Tbsp chia seed
Pinch of cinnamon and vanilla extract
Blend together and enjoy!
-Cassie Dimmick, MS, RD, CSSD