I almost had a life-changing experience a couple of weeks ago: it was my first ultramarathon in Mt. Taylor, New Mexico. Early on a Saturday morning, ready to begin the trek up to the 11,305 ft. summit, a couple hundred of us gathered at the starting line at 6 am. The sun was just peeking up over the mountain as we made sure our headlights were lit, our shoes were tied, and our minds was focused on the 31 miles of mountain terrain that lie ahead. As the gun went off and shouts of encouragement filled the air, I walked back to my camp and promptly went back to sleep. Almost life changing, almost.
Several hours later, after a relaxing hike in the forest, I made my way the finish line to watch the runners come in. I shared some Verde Juice and spoke with a finisher who drank a half gallon of beet juice before he began. It turns out, beet juice is pretty fantastic for our muscles. In fact, NPR just produced this story about study the effect of beet juice on endurance. Cyclists on beet juice were able to perform 16 minutes longer than cyclists without.
Historically, beets grew along the coastlines of Africa, Asia and Europe. However, it was first just the beet greens that were consumed. It wasn’t until the late 1500’s that they were cultivated into the stain causing root vegetable we know today. Interestingly enough, the Romans used beets as an aphrodisiac.
Beets are nutritionally beneficial in a number of ways. They are naturally high in beta carotene, nitrates, iron, manganese, and vitamin C. The University of Exeter study of cyclists is only one example of the many studies showing that beets improve athletic performance. The Mount Taylor runner I spoke with had clearly read this report that runners did indeed run faster if they consumed beet juice before their race.
It not just racers and athletes that benefit. Preliminary evidence suggests that beet juice may help blood flow to the brain in the elderly. It is believed to help lower blood pressure and beet juice has many cleansing properties.
If you’re interested in getting more beets into your daily routine, we’d like to suggest you replace your afternoon coffee break with our new Beet Mocha – a blend of raw beet juice, cold-brewed coffee, local pecan milk and raw cacao. Serve it hot after dinner as a delicious coffee drink to wow your dinner guests or grab a bottle before your next workout, even if it’s not a 30 mile uphill race.
Beet Mocha (makes 2-8 oz. servings)
1/2 cup organic beet juice
1/2 cup cold brew coffee
1 cup fresh pecan milk
2 t. raw cacao nibs
1 t. honey
First, blend the coffee, cacao nibs, and honey in a blender on high speed until smooth and uniform. Combine the mixture with the beet juice and pecan milk, mixing by hand to avoid excess foam. Enjoy chilled, or warm, within 5 days.