If You Want To Get A Long Workout In, Drink Beet Juice

And maybe some chocolate milk while you're at it.

Among the pantheon of great sports drinks, here's a new, not especially glamorous addition: Beet juice.

According to a small study, beet juice may have some cardiovascular benefit, both at rest and when a person is exercising. Researchers theorize that this is due to the nitrate in beet juice, which, when converted in the body, can increase blood flow and improve blood vessel dilation.

The study, published in June in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, involved 14 healthy but sedentary men who drank beet juice each day for 15 days. Half of the men drank nitrate-rich beet juice, while half were given a nitrate-depleted beet juice as a control. Then, the men switched. All were asked to stick to their regular lifestyles and diets, except for a series of fitness tests of varying intensity.

Both during these exercises and at rest, the researchers tested and found that the men had lower blood pressure, greater blood flow and consumed less oxygen -- a marker of cardiovascular fitness -- when they drank nitrate-rich beet juice.

Beet juice isn't the only out-there sports drink science recommends. Previous research found that low fat chocolate milk is effective in repairing and replenishing muscles after a workout and is more effective than energy drinks at helping people recover, lose fat and gain muscle.

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