By Nanci Katra
This month, we are talking about the benefits of beetroot powder, and how to use this unique vegetable powder. One of the most interesting and underrated benefits of beetroot powder is the nitrates it contains. You may not be familiar with this compound, so lets break it down:
What is a Nitrate and what does it do?
Nitrates are a compound in our bodies that help produce nitric oxide, a molecule in our bodies responsible for chemical signalling. One of its main functions relating to athletic performance is that it widens blood vessels, allowing more oxygen and blood to flow to the areas where we most need it when working out – skeletal muscle!
But that’s not all…
It’s also beneficial when it comes to boosting libido, especially in men. Constricted and unhealthy arteries can be a cause of poor libido / erectile dysfunction, and as nitric oxide relaxes these arteries and increases blood flow to organs, this can be especially helpful.
Because of the vasodilation effects, nitric oxide is helpful when it comes to heart disease. Those who suffer with heart disease generally have a build up of plaque in their arteries, which means that it’s harder to get blood and oxygen to the heart, not an ideal situation!
Using beetroot powder in a smoothie (check out our pre-workout red velvet smoothie below), or even just on its own with coconut water are simple enough ways to increase production of nitric oxide in the body, and give you all the benefits that nitrates provide your body!
*Please consult a health professional before using nitric oxide if you have any blood pressure issues.
Red Velvet Pre-Workout Smoothie
This blend of fast digesting sugars, nitric oxide precursors, magnesium, electrolytes and natural nervous system stimulants is ideal for giving your muscles fuel to get through even the most intense workout. Best consumed 1 hour to 30 minutes before movement.
- 1 tbs beetroot powder
- 1 tbs raw cacao powder
- 2x medjool dates
- ½ tsp vanilla bean powder
- 1 tsp maca powder
- ½ ripe banana
- 20-25g of a plain and natural protein powder (unflavoured, unsweetened)
- 1 cup coconut water
All ingredients are available at the Manly Food Co-Op.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
About the author: Nanci is a Naturopathic Nutritionist (Adv. Dip. Nut Med), Yoga Teacher, Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga Teacher and Singer who believes strongly in the power of food as medicine. She lives by the motto, ‘Food for the body, yoga for the soul’. When she’s not researching her favourite nutrition topics or saluting the sun on land and sea, you’ll find her exploring Sydney’s best hikes and trails, discovering health food hot spots, and hanging out with her dog!
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