Beets, rhubarb and arugala are nitrate-rich foods.Sports nutrition research indicates the natural nitrates they contain can significantly improve running performance when eaten three-hours in advance of exercise. The nitrates convert into nitric oxide, a gaseous signaling molecule that acts as a critical biological messenger. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, reduces platelet stickiness, and allows a person to exercise at a submaximal pace using less oxygen. This info is helpful for not only athletes but for unhealthy people with lung and circulation problems.
This nitrate-rich recipe is one of many tasty suggestions from the website of food-lover Eileen Behan RD www.ForTheLoveOfFood.org.
6 small red beets (12 ounces, raw or cooked), peeled and sliced very thin
1/2 large pink grapefruit, juiced
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
8 ripe strawberries
1/2 lemon , juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
1-cup chopped (1 stalk) rhubarb
4 cups arugula, washed and dried
1. In a medium bowl, toss beet slices (either raw or cooked) with the juice and zest of the grapefruit-half, vinegar, pinch of salt and 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Marinate, at least 15 minutes to 4 hours.
2. Cut the strawberries into quarters. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, and juice from the lemon.
3. Prepare the rhubarb sauce: in a food processor, pulse rhubarb with 2 tbsp water and puree until smooth.
Just before serving, strain the marinated beets. Toss beets with the strawberries. Arrange the greens on a platter and top with the beets and strawberries. Put a dollop of rhubarb purée in the center. Optional: drizzle with a little olive oil.
Serves four. Calories per serving: 140
For other sports recipes: Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook