Make your lovers heart skip a “BEET” this Valentine’s Day! These fudgey brownies are sure to impress your favorite endurance or strength athlete with the secret ingredient.
Many studies have been conducted to find out the effects of beetroot consumption on athletic performance enhancement. Beets are an excellent source of organic nitrate which is turned into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide has been “related to increased blood flow, gas exchange, mitochondrial biogenesis and efficiency, and strengthening of muscle contraction.”(1) A 2017 systematic review by Raul Dominguez, et al. published in Nutrients found that “supplementation with beetroot juice can improve cardiorespiratory endurance in athletes by increasing efficiency, which improves performance at various distances, increases time to exhaustion at submaximal intensities, and may improve the cardiorespiratory performance at anaerobic threshold intensities and maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max). ” (1) Meaning, it will take you longer to become tired, 12-14% longer in fact depending on how much beetroot juice you take in.(2)
Beets are starting to sound pretty tasty now, huh? To get the most from Beets you should drink between 600-1200 mL beetroot juice (the amount depends on how your body handles drinking the juice, your size, and performance level) within 90 minutes of your workout.(1, 2) Peak nitric oxide levels will occur 2-3 hours after you drink the juice, which if you are timing it right will be right in the middle of your workout. (1, 2)
So give these sweet treats a whirl and put the research to the test in your next workout!
Beet Brownie Bites
By Eleanor Baker, MS, RD, LDN
24 Servings | Vegan & can be gluten free
- 2 ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour or gluten free oat flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cooked beets, diced into large chunks (Use up to 3 beets if you like extra fudgy brownies)
- 1/3 cup milk of choice, plus more if needed
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or veg oil
- 1/2 can black beans drained and rinsed (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips, plus more if desired
- Sprinkle of sugar, optional
- Preheat your oven to 375 F and prepare two 4×6 cup mini cupcake tins.
- If you do not have mini cupcake tins, use what you have and increase the cook time in relation to the size of your pan. i.e. if using a 13×9 pan, cook time will be 22-25 minutes.
- Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and stir until well mixed.
- In a high speed blender or food processor add the beets, milk, oil, beans, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
- Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry using a hand mixer to blend them together. Once dry is mixed well with wet, fold in your chocolate chips.
- Divide evenly among 24 mini brownie cups and place on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 8-10 mins or until the top of the brownie is firm and a tooth pick comes out smooth from the center of the largest brownie.
- Sprinkle with a touch of sugar and enjoy!
Per Serving: Calories 107, 4 g fat, 16 g carbohydrate (2 g fiber), 2 g protein
- Domínguez, Raúl et al. “Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review.” Nutrients 9.1 (2017): 43. PMC. Web. 8 Feb. 2018.
- Wylie, L et al. “Beetroot juice and exercise: pharmacodynamic and dose-response relationships.” J Appl Physiol. 2013 Aug 1;115(3):325-36. Epub 2013 May 2.