By: Marisa Moore, MBA.RD.LD.
You may have heard all kinds of things about how to be fast on your feet. But have you tried beets?
Recent evidence suggests that eating beets before a run can boost performance. In a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, participants were able to improve their best run times by about three percent. To get these results, participants ate about 7 ounces of baked beets an hour before their race. Scientists believe this boost in performance is due to the nitrates naturally present in beets.
No one enjoys hitting the wall. Of course there are many factors affecting how fast you reach the finish line. And it’s not always about how fast you go. Often it’s just important that you finish. However, it’s nice to find a food that not only fuels and nourishes but can also help you get through a workout a little easier.
Several years ago, I never would have considered eating beets. See, I’d only had the canned, pickled variety and I hated them. But now, I can’t get enough of them. Beets are naturally sweet and delicious when roasted. Try them roasted just as they are or make a salad of roasted beets with orange segments. If you’re in the mood for a savory dish, drizzle roasted beets with a little walnut or extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of feta or goat cheese. You can also enjoy beetroot juice solo or as part of a smoothie.
If beets really aren’t your thing, incorporate other vegetables into your diet such as celery, rhubarb and leafy green vegetables like spinach and arugula which are also naturally high in nitrates.
Marisa Moore is a registered dietitian and owner of a speaking and nutrition consulting practice in Atlanta, GA. For morsels of food and nutrition tips and information, follow her on twitter at @MarisaMoore.