I love beets.
But you already knew that if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time.
Now, thanks to some researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK, I have documentation that this deadly serious vegetable is a performance-enhancing substance. In fact, there are forty pages worth of scientific documentation on just that subject in the August 6th issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology. If you’re interested.
Yes, the beet root is not only well-suited for a starring role in an offbeat Tom Robbins’ saga, but it also has important implications in mitochondrial respiration.
Deadly serious? By all means.
Do you care? Probably not.
But that’s never stopped me before. Here’s the scoop. To make a long and very convoluted story short, researchers have determined that beet root juice, which contains inorganic nitrate, decreases human oxygen requirements during sub-maximal exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
So, how did they figure this out?
The researchers rounded up a compliant study group of males, aged 19-38 years old (only guys that age would agree to this). Half the group drank 500 mL per day of beet root juice, while the other half drank black currant juice, which has little nitrate content. They were hooked up to metabolic equipment to measure pulmonary gas exchange, their BP and heart rates were monitored, and capillary blood samples were collected during several days of exercise testing and juice drinking.
Well, guess what? The beet root drinkers showed significantly improved exercise tolerance and muscle oxygenation. I doubt you have to be a 19-38 year old male to benefit in this way by eating beets or drinking beet juice, but I’m happy to let them be the guinea pigs.
Ah, but here’s my take on it. Don’t wait for beet root capsules to be sold at your favorite supplement store (just wait, it will happen). Instead, eat the whole beet and enjoy it. You’ll be able to run faster and farther. Seriously.
Well, maybe it just won’t hurt as bad.
The above photo was my lunch. I sautéed onions, garlic, celery, carrots and beets in a little coconut oil for about 6-8 minutes. I added some leftover cooked brown rice and a few splashes of chicken broth and stirred occasionally for another 5 minutes or so, until rice was hot and veggies were lightly cooked.
Now I’m going to go run (maybe I’ll just walk) my dog 16% more efficiently than if I hadn’t eaten beets. That might be a bit of a leap, but you get the idea.
Other beet-obsessive posts I’ve written include:
Gluten-free, chocolate beet cupcakes (just trust me)
The beet goes on — dairy-free, beet ice cream (yeah, I know, I know)
Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume and the deadly serious beet
Tips on storing and using both the beet root and the greens (raw or cooked)
Seasonal foods nutritional profile of beets
Off and running,