If you’re an athlete looking for natural ways to improve your performance, you’re probably already aware of the many profound benefits of juicing. I know a lot of people and athletes are looking for a natural energy boost to give them an extra edge as well.
What if I told you that the answer to your quest for improvement may be found right in the garden. Most people are familiar with the main benefit of beetroot which is reducing blood pressure (According to research by the American Heart Association), but new research is showing that beetroot can provide even more benefits (more on that later). Echinacea, on the other hand, has long been a known treatment in herbal medicine for the common cold, flu, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections and many others. But did you know these two foods can also help improve your athletic performance?
Foods for Energy and Performance
What can Echinacea do for you?
Echinacea is an herb, taken in supplement or extract form. It is commonly known for its ability to improve and boost the nervous system, however, more recent studies suggest that it can do far more than that! Echinacea may also help improve and boost one’s endurance. Athletes may be familiar with the hormone called EPO (Erythropoietin). EPO is an essential hormone that regulates red blood cell production. If the body has more red blood cells, there will be an increase in oxygen transport, and an increase in endurance will follow. Echinacea can be a natural and safe means to increase EPO in the body. A recent study reported as much as a 63% increase in EPO after taking Echinacea for 14 days.
What Can Beetroot do for you?
According to new research, eating beetroot before a race gave runners a modest edge, an average of 41 seconds in a 5k. Beetroot works in a similar fashion as Echinacea. Beetroot can increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and has also been found to reduce the amount of oxygen that muscles require in order to function optimally.
This means you can benefit from an increase in energy and stamina. A study conducted at the Exeter University in England found that after cyclists consumed half a liter of organic beetroot for 6 days, they were able to cycle for longer periods. The same athletes were also subjected to a placebo for the same number of days. Their fitness tests after the 6 days did not reflect an improvement in their performance. I recommend eating or juicing beetroot about two and a half hours before an athletic event, although a regular diet with plenty of Echinacea and Beetroot can be an excellent way to naturally increase energy and performance.
Is There an Alternative?
Yes. If you don’t have time to juice beetroot, I recommend supplementing with a greens powder. A high quality greens contains dried vegetable juice plus other super compounds like spirulina, chlorella, and wheat grass in powder form. And, yes- beetroot. In fact, beetroot is one of the main vegetable ingredients in the Perfect Food Berry blend. Basically you’re getting all the benefits of juicing in a concentrated powder form, but without the mess of juicing.
How to Add Beetroot and Echinacea to Your Diet
1. Echinacea I use an extract form.
2. Beetroots can be found in the produce section of the market. They look a bit like radishes, and I’ll add them in when juicing. I recently put up a video explaining the benefits of juicing and how to get started.
3. Greens Powder. I mentioned this earlier, but a high quality greens contains dried vegetable juices like beetroot and superfood compounds. Supplementing with a greens is a great way to naturally increase energy. It’s important to choose a freeze dried powder form, as it doesn’t kill the nutrients.
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