Why Do Top Athletes Eat Beetroot?January 27th, 2014 by David
Athletes everywhere are in hot pursuit of ways to promote and enhance stamina levels. Many can hit jackpot by simply opening their fridge. Mother Nature has an answer to everything, and the quest for the ultimate stamina surge is no exception. Hello beetroot!
You may have noticed little shot bottles of beetroot juice popping up in health shops. This is obviously far more convenient for gym bunnies and athletes, than lugging around a pot of purple vegetables to nosh before jumping on the treadmill or football field!
So why beetroot?
Beetroot is rich in nitrate levels which help the body to utilise oxygen more efficiently. Nitrate opens the blood vessels to lower blood pressure, enhance blood flow and pelt oxygen to muscles pronto. It also helps to encourage healthy muscle contraction. In this way beetroot also works to protect and promote heart, which is obviously a key player in the stamina stakes.
Beetroot also contains a cocktail of energy boosting nutrients including iron, folic acid and vitamin C. The antioxidants and carotenoids present in this purple root veg help to protect cells from the surge of free radicals released during intensive exercise and endurance sport.
Here are some tips on how to incorporate beetroot into your diet:
Juice it! Beetroot may not be an obvious ingredient for smoothie making, but it makes an excellent component to all sorts of recipes. Combine with fruits like apple and berries for a sweet pop of colour and vegetable nutrients. It sweetens green juices and makes a thirst quenching super juice when combined with refreshing mint leaves and pears. Try it with celery, watercress, spinach and blueberries. The key to a happy juicing habit is variation. Aim to get plenty of vegetables into your concoctions – beetroot is a front runner for the taste buds as well as health needs!
Partner it – Beetroot goes famously with goat’s cheese, but it’s also a colourful companion to avocado, carrot, chicken, hummus and other types of cheese. Try filling celery sticks with hummus, feta or cottage cheese and topping with chunks of cooked beetroot.
Bake with it! The next time you’re making a chocolate fudge cake, add mashed beetroot to the mix! Now this may sound like taste bud trauma, but actually it adds an indulgent sticky texture and naturally sweet taste and the vegetable flavours are masked by the chocolate and other ingredients. A delicious slice of cake with the added benefit of antioxidants and fibre? Yes please!
Roast it! Roast lamb and chicken go beautifully with a colourful array of roasted veggies and herbs, and beetroot contributes a depth of flavour and colour to tantalise all roast-ready taste buds.
Other beetroot benefits? Beetroot is full of folic acid, which is why some pregnant women find that they crave it! (How clever is the human body?!) Folic acid is important for energy levels as well as helping to promote healthy ovulation and prevent birth defects. Beetroot also provides high levels of silica which is essential to healthy bones. It is also a low GI vegetable, packed with fibre so great for digestive health and keeping your blood sugar
levels stable. The high nitrate levels of beetroot have been credited for this vegetables preventative powers against development of dementia and Alzheimer’s.