If you're looking for a delicious, healthy way to improve athletic performance, you're reading the right blog. Over the past several years, researchers in the field of sports nutrition have noted that drinking beet juice helps athletes perform faster while simultaneously reducing exhaustion. A naturally occurring chemical known as nitrate is largely responsible for this effect. When you eat vegetables rich in nitrates your body produces more nitric oxide - a molecule that supports healthier blood flow and oxygenation of muscles during exercise.

Lately, there's been plenty of good news about beets. However, there are also some downsides to consider. Firstly, beet juice contains roughly 25 grams of sugar per cup. So, if you're diabetic or on a low carb diet, you may wish to avoid it. Also, beets are a decidedly acquired taste. Personally, I don't care for them. But, fortunately, there are other, richer sources of nitrates which are even more nutritious and lower in sugar than beets.

My favorite way to prepare for a workout is to make a green drink with a lemony-ginger twist. Here's how you make my "Popeye Smoothie".

Firmly pack about 5 to 6 ounces of raw spinach into a large blender cup. Add half an organic lemon including the peel and seeds. Pour in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Next, toss in several black peppercorns and a 1 inch nub of peeled ginger root. Finally, add 8 to

12 ounces of purified water and blend until smooth. I prefer using a high-powdered blender such as Nutribullet or a Vitamix as they completely liquify all the ingredients.

The reason I add olive oil and peppercorns to the mix is that they both assist the body in absorbing valuable antioxidants and fat-soluble nutrients, which are largely inaccessible when drinking conventional green juices. The use of a powerful blender, rather than a juicer, also effortlessly adds a hefty amount of dietary fiber to the drink. Perhaps best of all, the resulting beverage is unexpectedly delicious. Seriously! It doesn't taste at all like most green drinks.

But, if you don't like spinach and/or you need some added variety, feel free to use other great sources of nitrates such as arugula, chard or kale. Enjoy and have a great workout!



John Paul Fanton is an integrative health expert with over 20 years experience in the field.

Follow his page at http://www.healthyfellow.com/