Beets are a BEAUTIFUL thing! In addition to being high in vitamins and minerals (Potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine and folic acid - just to name a few), they are also low in calories and one of the best foods to incorporate into your diet if you are doing any sort of endurance training.
Why, you ask? "The nitrate contained in beetroot juice reduces your oxygen uptake, helping your muscles produce energy more effectively and ultimately making exercise less tiring," explains Burn 60 trainer Kasseem Osheroff. You don't need to bathe yourself in it either - just one or two cups a day is enough to provide optimum advantages.
While its easy enough to make your own beetroot juice at home (simply combine beets with a few leafy greens, a couple of carrots and maybe a touch of apple or lemon in a juicer and, well, juice), the process can be time consuming. Luckily, brands like Evolution are making delicious cold-pressed juices readily accessible to the masses with beet containing blends like Organic V.
In most cases, eating whole vegetables or fruits, as opposed to vegetable or fruit juice is suggested for maximum nutritional benefit. However, because beets must first enter you blood stream in order to effect your energy levels, this particular root is most potent in liquid form.
Still not sure you can handle drinking from the garden? That's okay. There are many other advantages to beets that don't require sipping them through a straw. Beets have also been known to assist in the prevention of certain cancers, remove toxins from the body, replenish lost iron in women who are pregnant and, as if all that is not enough, are also one of the world's oldest known aphrodisiacs! Intrigued? Try this recipe on for size:
Baby Making Beet Salad w/ Honey Balsamic Dressing (serves 4)
What You'll Need:
For the salad-
4 c. Baby Spinach
6 Baby Beets (we suggest the pre-washed/peeled beets sold at Trader Joes)
1/2 c. Reduced Fat Feta Cheese (crumbled)
1/2 c. Pomegranate Seeds
1 c. Cooked Red Quinoa
For the dressing-
1 tbs. Grapeseed Oil
1/2 tbs. White Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp. Raw Honey
Salt & Pepper to taste
How to Make It Happen:
Prepare quinoa as suggested. If required, wash and peel beets, then dice into small, bite-sized chunks. Make sure that your spinach has been rinsed and dried thoroughly before combining all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
Prepare dressing in a separate dish, vigorously stirring the oil, honey and vinegar until they become one and then pour directly over your salad.
Toss lightly, then serve.
180 Calories per serving
Burn 60 Trainer Kasseem Oserhoff