Forget fancy fruits grown in remote rain forests: Turns out good old beets are packed with nutrients that can help give athletes an added edge. “Beets are high in nitrates, which can assist in speed and performance,” says Jessica Crandall, a Denver-based dietitian and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Nitric oxide can improve blood flow, reduce oxygen cost to exercise, enhance muscle contractions, and help with glucose stability.” One study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found eating a 7-ounce serving of cooked beets an hour before running can “acutely improve running performance.” Below, three new ways to get your beet fix.
CLIF Organic Energy Food Banana Beet with Ginger ($2 for 90-gram pouch, sports retailers nationwide, find locations at ClifBar.com)
Beet Performer Beet Juice ($36 for 12-pack of 8.4 oz cans, amazon.com)
Neogenis Sport BeetElite nitric oxide supplement ($30 for 10 pack of 4 oz shots at NeogenisSport.com)