Sounds a little odd I know. But adding beetroot to boost your smoothie will provide not only added nutrients, but may even potentially enhance your athletic performance!
Why add beetroot to boost your smoothie?
Beetroots – a health-promoting functional food
- Beetroots are high in fibre, and a good source of potassium, vitamin C, iron and magnesium. They are virtually fat-free, low in calories and have a low GL (glycaemic load).
- Beetroots are also a rich source of phytochemical compounds.1 These include ascorbic acid, carotenoids, phenolic acids and flavonoids. These have been shown to have health promoting benefits associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular and other diseases. 2
- They are also abundant in betalains, a group of highly bioactive pigments. 3 Betalains have been shown to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. 4
Potential benefits to athletic performance
- One of the main benefits that beetroot is increasingly known for, is its dietary source of nitrate. Ingesting beetroot provides a natural means of increasing in vivo nitric oxide (NO) availability and this has been found to have significant implications for managing cardiovascular health. 5
- Consumption of whole beetroot has been specifically shown to improve endurance running performance in healthy adults. This is due to the benefits from nitrate ingestion in this whole vegetable form. In a study performed on a group of fit recreational runners, it was found that eating 200 grams of whole beetroot 75 minutes before a 5 km treadmill time trial improved average running speed by 3% when compared to the placebo. 6
- There have also been several other studies that have established that beetroot supplementation has been an effective means of enhancing athletic performance in cyclists. 7 8
With all that in mind, why don’t you try adding some beetroot to boost your smoothie? Give my recipe below a try. It’s super quick and easy to make!
Beetroot smoothie recipe
This recipe is not your typical “sweet” smoothie. Beetroots have a natural earthy flavour which I do like but may be an acquired taste for some. And combined with the tartness of the kefir, it gives a unique flavour to this smoothie. The addition of natural sweeteners in your choice of toppings with fresh fruit, for example, will keep this smoothie healthy and yummy!
- 1 cooked baby beetroot,
- 1 frozen banana,
- ½ cup frozen organic mixed berries,
- ½ cup organic rolled oats,
- 1 cup kefir or water, and
- toppings of choice – eg. fresh fruit, seeds and nuts.
Optional: Then to finish, you can always add a drizzle of pure maple syrup or honey for added sweetening if preferred.
- Firstly, put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz up until all combined and smooth in texture.
- Then just pour the mixture into a bowl and complete with your favourite toppings. I’ve popped on some fresh banana, chia seeds, buckinis, pepitas and roasted coconut chips on mine. The choice is yours, now just enjoy!
For more healthy food ideas, check out the Nourish the Active page!
- Clifford T, Howatson G, West DJ, Stevenson EJ. “The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease.” Nutrients. 2015;7(4):2801-2822. doi :10.3390/nu7042801. ↩
- Leitzmann C “Characteristics and Health Benefits of Phytochemicals” Forsch Komplementmed. 2016;23(2):69-74. doi: 10.1159/000444063. Epub 2016 Feb 4. ↩
- Lee CH, Wettasinghe M, Bolling BW, Ji LL, Parkin KL, “Betalains, phase II enzyme-inducing components from red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extracts.” Nutr Cancer. 2005; 53(1):91-103. ↩
- Clifford T, Howatson G, West DJ, Stevenson EJ. “The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease.” Nutrients. 2015;7(4):2801-2822. doi:10.3390/nu7042801. ↩
- Lundberg JO et al, ” The nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway in physiology and therapeutics.”Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2008 Feb; 7(2):156-67. ↩
- M.Murphy et al, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, April 2012 Volume 112, Issue 4, Pages 548–552 “Whole Beetroot Consumption Acutely Improves Running Performance” ↩
- Lansley KE et al, “Acute dietary nitrate supplementation improves cycling time trial performance.” Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Jun; 43(6):1125-31. ↩
- Cermak NM et al, “Nitrate supplementation’s improvement of 10-km time-trial performance in trained cyclists.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2012 Feb; 22(1):64-71. ↩