Beets are the new superfood! Turn Up The Beet


by Elise Kelly

You’ll be hard-pressed (or cold-pressed) to find a juice bar without beets on the menu and with good reason. Beets are no stranger to the wellness scene as health nuts and athletes alike seek to reap the benefits of this colorful veggie. It took me a while to hop on the “beet train” after years of discreetly hiding them under my napkin during Thanksgiving dinner.

When I started feeding my body more nutritious, whole foods, I knew it wouldn’t hurt to give them a second shot, and I’m so glad I did. Known for their earthy taste, roasting, juicing, and pickling are just a few ways that beets can be enjoyed. They are rich in B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese, leaving
no doubt that they pack a nutritious punch. Beyond being nutrient-dense, research suggests that beets could be beneficial in fighting off disease. Even more surprising are studies that show beets could be the missing ingredient from your pre-workout meal for those aiming to up their energy and stamina in the gym.

One of the most promising benefits of beets is that they are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. If you haven’t already indulged in the beet trend, their ability to possibly stave off certain diseases and cancers may convince you to start. Beets have the pigment, betalain, to thank for some of their most noteworthy benefits. According to a study published in the scientific journal, Nutrients, these pigments have been shown to protect cells from oxidative stress. Since oxidative stress can eventually lead to the development of chronic inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, among other health issues, it is no wonder that beets are championed amongst wellness
professionals.

When deciding on the best foods to help you power through your next workout, beets probably do not immediately come to mind, but they should be at the top of your list. It’s not unusual for athletes to fuel up before exercising to ensure they are getting the most out of their time at the gym. For some, this means turning to supplements while others are sure to grab a pre-workout snack. While I’m usually a peanut butter and banana kind of girl, beet juice has definitely become one of my go-to refreshments on the way to the gym.

Research from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that consuming beets can provide increased endurance due to their nitrate content while consuming nitrate through sources other than vegetables may actually be harmful. Another study from the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that beetroot juice acts as a vasodilator. Simply put, it is able to widen your blood vessels so blood can flow more easily. The increase of blood flow means you are getting more oxygen which in turn leads to less fatigue.

For athletes performing long or high-intensity workouts, having this nutritious boost is highly sought after and may be the extra push you need to reach your goals. These benefits set beets apart and make them an ideal natural alternative to pre-workout supplements. You can even find beet root powders and supplements on the shelves of
health food and supplement stores targeted towards athletes for this purpose. While you can easily prepare beets yourself thanks to their versatility, don’t forget to embrace the beet trend right here in Nashville by visiting some of our city’s hotspots.

Some highlights include the Beet & Arugula Salad from Burger Up, the Love Hornet shot from Juice Bar, and the Farmers Heirloom Salad from Chauhan Ale & Masala House. Even if you’re not completely sold on beets, these local, tasty dishes might just sway you. They definitely converted me into a beet lover. Whether you are looking to up your
superfood consumption or maximize your workout, beets are a healthy and delicious addition to any diet. If you have ever feared beets before, build up some courage, take this challenge and try something new! Your body will thank you.