I walked in the house from the gym, at 6 am to see my husband sitting on the edge of the chair taking his running shoes off. I say, how was your 13 mile run this morning? He looks up at me as a bead of sweat drip from the tip of his nose and says, “hot but great, felt really good today, must have been the beet juice and how was leg day? I say, very strong today went up on some weights and I look at him and smile and say, must have been the beet juice”. Feeling pumped, I put down my gym bag, grab my recovery smoothie as we both get ready to tackle the day.
In the world of athletes, wither it is bodybuilding or endurance we are always looking for the next best thing that will help us with the little extra push, energy to lift more, get the last rep in, run the extra mile faster and harder. The supplement shelves are lined with Bottles, packages, pills, drinks, bars an endless array of choices promising to increase energy, recovery, and build more muscle. Pre workouts in colorful canisters with names in big bold letters like, Explosion, Vapor, Arnold Iron Pump, Push, Insane Veinz, Nitro Surge and many more that get you pumped before you reach the cash register. But, do they really work?
Well, some say they do and for others they do nothing. Hundreds of studies say they are a waste of money and some swear by them. Have I tried any? Of course. Do they work for me? I like to think that they do. However, there are a few problems with many of these on the market. They can cost on average between 20 and 60 dollars a canister and for two people in the house working out that can add up to a costly expense each month. Also, with the exception of a few brands out there such as Vega, Organic Muscle and a few others most of them have added sugars, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, high doses of caffeine and even illegal ingredients which are not the healthiest for your body. Yet, I have found on many ingredient lists, beets or beet root juice. Also, on selves are beet root shots for energy, powders and capsules. Why are companies jumping on the beet wagon what makes them so special for athletes and even non athletes?
Beets are the food that as a kid would often hide under the dinner napkin to avoid eating or sneak them under the table to give to your dog along with the asparagus and Brussel sprouts. Yet beets are now flying off the shelves. This is because they and other plants have nitric oxide. Trying not to get to scientific, according to Breaking Muscle.com, beets get their color either purple or yellow from pigments called Betalains which contain nitrogen and work as anti-flammatories and antioxidants. They are also full of nitrates that are converted into nitric oxide. This increases blood flow to the muscles which makes it easier for mitochondria to produce energy with less fatigue. Therefore it is now commonly used for bodybuilders to get the “pump”, increase strength, complete more reps, and help endurance. With beets being naturally high in sugars, it is a great source of carbs for an energy boost.
Besides being a new favorite among athletes, beets are a powerhouse of other benefits and nutrients:
So, as you can see beets the once food that was viewed as an ugly vegetable has essential health benefit. Therefore, rather than spend all kinds of money on Canisters that read Explosion, I decided why not get these nutrients and nitric oxide straight from the natural source? I have a juicer which has been sitting on the shelf for quite some time. All I need now are the beets and a few small containers. The recipe could not be simpler. I did add some apples to the juicer for added sweetness and flavor but, can add other fruits or just the beets alone. Why juice and not just have the whole beet? The juice has a little less fiber so for those of us that can have belly troubles this was the better option for us. Have no juicer, have no fear, organic juice can be bought just be cautious of added ingredients, read the labels! Capsules and powder will work to.
Finally, when juicing you are usually left with all that juice pulp and being that the pulp is still part of the whole food, I won’t throw it out. I put it in zip lock freezer bags and freeze it. The pulp can have many other uses like baking, making crackers, and making dog treats that saves me a ton of money on store bought ones. It is healthy for dogs (even though it turns their pee red) and they love it. Add a little peanut butter, chia seeds, banana, honey, coconut oil and dehydrate. They go nuts for them! I might even do a blog on those in the future. In the meantime here is my simply recipe for beet juice and below you can find additional articles on beets. Oh and does the juice work? Yes it has helped both of us increase our endurance and strength in our workouts!
Purple Potion Beet Juice
Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 8 4 oz cups depending on the size of beets and apples
4 large organic beets (with or without greens and stems)
4 organic apples or other fruit (optional)
Where to buy the powder form:
references and articles: