Beet Root Juice for Increased Endurance and Health

We Got the BeetMaybe, with his love for beets, Dwight was on to something after all.  While, I might not go out and start a beet farm, it turns out that beet juice can provide increased athletic endurance.  Apparently it’s the juice’s nitrate content that’s responsible for the benefit.  Although the exact mechanism isn’t known, it’s thought that the nitrates help improve energy efficiency in the muscles.  Another benefit of beet juice is that it can help lower systolic blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels.

The benefits of drinking beet juice are dose dependent, with the best results obtained by consuming 240 to 500 ml of beet root juice approximately 2 hours before exercising.  One study found that consuming beet juice extended time to failure by 14%!

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References: Beet Root Juice and Exercise (PubMed) and A Toast to Health and Performance (Journal of Applied Physiology)

Originally posted 2013-05-22 22:26:41.

The Best Sources of Potassium

beets1Why is it important to know the best sources of potassium? According to the Institute of Medicine, Adequate Intake for potassium (AI) is 4,700 mg. To put this in perspective, the average US male only consumes approximately 3,000 mg of potassium per day, while the average US woman only consumes 2,300 mg. This is made worse by the fact that Americans typically consume three times more sodium than potassium! The ratio of sodium to potassium is opposite of what it should be. Ideally, potassium intake should be about twice the amount of sodium intake. People from pre-industrialized cultures usually consume seven times more potassium than sodium. Adequate potassium intake is extremely important for maintaining cardiovascular health, bone strength, and muscle function. People who consume adequate levels of potassium have less incidence of stroke, kidney stones, and osteoporosis.

Below I’ve compiled a list of foods that are the best sources of potassium. Beet greens, a little-used green, came out on top! Beet greens are also a great source of calcium, so next time you buy some organic beets be sure to enjoy the leafy tops in addition to the sweet root! Like beets, most foods that are high in potassium tend to be rich in other important nutrients as well. An easy way to get more potassium in one’s diet is to replace grains with potatoes and beans, and to replace refined foods with more whole foods in general.

  • 1,300 mg – Beet Greens (1 cup cooked)
  • 961 mg – Swiss Chard (1 cup cooked)
  • 955 mg – Lima Beans (1 cup cooked)
  • 952 mg – Potatoes (1 medium baked)
  • 911 mg – Yams (1 cup cooked)
  • 896 mg – Acorn Squash (1 cup cooked)
  • 746 mg – Pinto Beans (1 cup cooked)
  • 742 mg – Kidney Beans (1 cup cooked)
  • 731 mg – Lentils (1 cup cooked)
  • 689 mg – Avocado (1 medium)
  • 650 mg – Spinach (1 cup cooked)
  • 520 mg – Beets (1 cup cooked)
  • 514 mg – Almonds (1/2 cup, dry roasted)
  • 439 mg – Cod (3 oz fillet cooked)
  • 410 mg – Carrot (1 cup, raw, chopped)
  • 390 mg – Crimini Mushrooms (1 cup, raw)
  • 380 mg – Yogurt (1 cup, plain, whole)
  • 387 mg – Salmon (3 oz fillet cooked)
  • 362 mg – Banana (1 small)
  • 360 mg – Papaya (1 cup, cubed)
  • 350 mg – Dark chocolate (50 grams , 85% cocoa or more)
  • 349 mg – Milk (1 cup, whole)
  • 307 mg – Coconut meat (1 cup dried)
  • 313 mg – Beef steak (3 oz fillet cooked)
  • 288 mg – Broccoli (1 cup raw)
  • 255 mg – English Walnuts (1/2 cup raw)
  • 240 mg – Macadamia nuts (1/2 cup dry roasted)
  • 217 mg – Orange (1 medium)
  • 205 mg – Prunes (1 oz dried)
  • 210 mg – Raisins (1 oz)

I recommend tracking your nutrient intake on Fitday for a couple of days to find out if you’re getting enough potassium to prevent disease. I don’t personally like tracking what I’m eating everyday, but I find recording my diet for at least a week or so helps me get my nutrition goals on track!


Originally posted 2013-02-07 20:09:00.