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Red Velvet Smoothie

Power up your smoothie with beets in this Red Velvet Smoothie recipe.

A couple months ago, the hubs and I traveled to Nashville to visit friends and cheer them on in a half marathon. I’ve been to races before and I used to run cross country in high school, but this was my first time watching a marathon/half marathon. Seeing the runners go by, all different ages and sizes, some amputees, one blind, some with looks of pure joy and others looking absolutely miserable, it left me feeling deeply inspired. So much so that I committed to my friends, family and the entirety of the internet to run an half marathon next year. 

As someone who hasn't run more than 3 miles since high school, this is either an incredibly powerful, exciting and inspiring commitment that will show me what I’m really made of….or a totally boneheaded move. Only time will tell.

Power up your smoothie with beets in this Red Velvet Smoothie recipe.

Either way, this yoga/barre devotee has been out running on the regular. I’m also trying to eat more like a runner, prepping plenty of preworkout snacks (like my chocolate-hazelnut chia bars), upping my protein intake a smidge, and including lots of endurance boosting foods, like beets! 

Beets are one of the best sources of naturally occuring nitrate, a substance that’s converted into nitric oxide in our body. Nitric oxide has many effects, including roles in neurotransmission, muscle contraction and increasing blood flow by dilating blood vessels, a process called vasodilation. 

Many studies have been done to see how beets can help you make the most of your workout. One study found beets increased tolerance to high intensity exercise. Beets also increase blood flow to muscles, making it easier to produce ATP, or energy. One small study looked specifically at running and found eating beets can actually help you run 3% faster, up to 5% faster in the last mile (let's see if I make it that far!). For maximum benefit, eat beets 2-3 hours before exercising, but no more than 12 hours. 

Not much of an athlete? There are other benefits to beets! We’ve all heard that brightly colored veggies are best for us, and what’s more richly hued than beets? The red pigment comes from a substance called betalains, which has a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect and aids the body's natural detoxification system. The nitrate in beets lowers blood pressure (it “beets” hypertension! Ha!). They're also an excellent source of folate and contain a hefty dose of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and copper. 

Power up your smoothie with beets in this Red Velvet Smoothie recipe.

Now, on to this smoothie. I know you may be a little terrified at the prospect of putting raw beet into your smoothie, even if it creates this totally gorgeous hot pink concoction, but I promise, you’ll barely taste it. If you REALLY hate the taste of beets, add a couple dates to sweeten it up, a bit, a dash of lemon juice, and any residual beet flavor will be gone. Bonus benefit –this smoothie also contains cocoa powder, another endurance enhancing food!

Power up your smoothie with beets in this Red Velvet Smoothie recipe.

Power up your smoothie with the addition of beets in this Red Velvet Smoothie Recipe!
Power up your smoothie with beets in this Red Velvet Smoothie recipe.

Red Velvet Smoothie

Yield

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 small frozen banana, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 medium beet peeled and grated
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 dates (optional)

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until pureed.

Print this recipe

RachaelAnAvocadoADay

RachaelAnAvocadoADay
Rachael Hartley is the author of the FOOD Rx on HealthyAperture - a monthly feature that embraces the saying "Let food be thy medicine." The tasty, whole food recipes shared in Food Rx take advantage of the healing power of food, highlighting ingredients with known health promoting abilities. Rachael is also private practice dietitian and blogger at Avocado A Day Nutrition. She is passionate about helping men and women improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing with nourishing and delicious whole foods, mindfulness and intuitive eating. As lifelong food lover, the kitchen is her playground and she enjoys experimenting with new ingredients, trying new cuisines and sharing those creations on her blog. When not working with clients or blogging, you can find her playing with her two big fluffy dogs, practicing yoga, or traveling with her husband.
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