Q: I’ve been hearing a lot about beet and tart cherry juices. Are they a fad or for real?
Brandon Marsh answers
A: Truthfully, new sports nutrition studies come along nearly every day. So, you’re smart to do your research and ask questions, but I think you’ll be surprised by what beet and tart cherry juices can do for the athlete in you.
One recent study showed that 500 mL of beet juice daily for a six-week period helped cyclists perform better compared to the placebo. Because beets are a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, fiber and nitric oxide, they provide great health rewards to any active body. A word to the wise: 500 mL equates to 17 ounces, and a 17-ounce glass of beet juice can come in at over 200 calories. Choose a no-sugar-added beet juice, instead.
We’re always fans of eating the real thing and love coating peeled beets with olive oil and roasting them for a savory side dish. If you’re not a fan of beets, don’t let your taste buds deter you. Beet juice supplements provide the same nutritional profile and are often freeze-dried to preserve the active enzymes. Best of all, supplements are free of flavor and calories.
Tart cherry juice may be more your taste. Like beet juice, tart cherries provide antioxidant properties, because they’re a rich natural source of vitamins A and C plus phenolic compounds. This ruby red fruit is also known for its healthy response to inflammation. Some research reveals this fruit juice may aid in recovery after hard bouts of exercise — during both endurance workouts and intense strength-training sessions.
Amy Marsh is a four time Ironman champion, two time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter, follow Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and follow Amy @AmyCMarsh.