Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! 

You are loved and appreciated!

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so I decided to send a love letter to YOU! I have the coolest and most beautiful clients in the city... heck, probably in the whole world! Poco is a neighborhood business with an international clientele, and whether you visit every day, every week, or only when you're visiting NYC, we appreciate you, and we're always happy to see you. I love chatting with you when you come into the restaurant, but there's no way I can spend as much time with you as I'd like to.

So I thought to myself, "Sara, you need to start a blog!" That way I can share more stuff with you. Stuff I've learned... things I'm passionate about... cool people I meet along the way. Only the best is good enough for you, so that's what I'll be sharing. And, hopefully, you can share more with me, and with each other, too. Together, we can create a ripple effect that will share the love and make every day more like Valentine's Day - full of love and good feelings!

Valentine's Day is all about hearts, isn't it? And a heart ain't nothin' without a beat. Unless... it's actually a beet. You know, those gorgeous, deep-red and often heart-shaped gifts from the earth? In honor of Valentine's Day, I wanted to do a riff on how both beats AND beets make us healthier and happier. 

Please beet yourself up!

Unlike beating yourself up - which, of course, I vehemently oppose! - beeting yourself up is a great way to tell your body you love and appreciate it. The point is that where your health is concerned, beets are hard to beat!

Nature often tips us off, using shape and color to let us know what foods will best support our body. For example, look at a walnut, which looks remarkably like the human brain and - surprise! - contains exactly the right healthy fats to support brain health. Similarly, beets have a shape reminiscent of the human heart and, in fact, they do a great job of supporting the cardio-vascular system because in addition to a wide array of beneficial antioxidants and minerals, beets contain betaine and high levels of nitrates that help support a healthy heart. Beet juice, with its deep garnet color, looks a lot like iron-rich blood and is one of the best foods to eat to keep your blood pure and pumping with ease and efficiency.

Beets are naturally detoxifying and anti-inflammatory.

The glutathiones in beets can help to clear toxins - including heavy metals - from the blood. It's pretty nifty, actually. Beet juice helps your body perform a process that makes toxins water-soluble, so they can be flushed right out of your body. And the betaines - which give beets their characteristic deep color - support healthy liver function.

Beets also can help tame inflammation, and I have a very personal story to share here: when we launched Poco's new Detox/Retox program, I added a beet juice to my daily regime. To my delight, my menstrual cramps and the lower back ache that usually comes with it completely disappeared. If you've suffered with this particular problem, then you know what a relief it is not to worry about it. Again, it's the betaine that's most likely leading the charge against inflammation, but no doubt other compounds also are doing their part.

Beets are sexy!

Did you know that beets are an aphrodisiac? For thousands of years - long before there were laboratories with men in white coats hovering over Bunsen burners and beakers - people discovered that beets have the ability to boost libido and lead to better love-making. It's because beets contain high levels of boron, which is a key player in sex hormone production, including testosterone. (Women need testosterone, too, to feel their friskiest!) The boron also helps to increase fertility and sperm mobility, so if you're trying to conceive, beets could be a great addition to your diet.

Beets help you go the distance!

Multiple studies show that drinking beet juice can substantially increase athletic endurance. It's the nitrates that seem to do the trick. Your body uses them to make nitric oxide, which improves blood flow by relaxing and dilating blood vessels. This helps to lower resting blood pressure and also increases the amount of blood oxygen available to support muscles and tissues during intense bouts of physical activity. That's good news whether you're dancing in the sheets or pushing through some other favorite workout.

Which brings me to beats...

I want to close with a word about the other kind of beats... the musical kind. I can say as much about the health benefits of music as I can about beets - but don't worry, I won't do that today! I'm sure after reading this, you're on your way to Poco now, to get your beets in, and I don't want to hold you up!

But I do want to say that music is a powerful way to elevate your mood and power you through a challenging workday, or a tough workout.

 Alie Giaime, my wonderful Equinox Spin instructor, says:

"Music is the driving force of any workout. The combined effect of beat, build, rhythm, and crescendo transcends one mentally, emotionally and physically to a place where all things are possible. Flow created through music elicits the release of self defeating thoughts and focus on physical discomfort, fostering one's ability to push boundaries and exceed seemingly insurmountable limits."

Wow! I couldn't have said it better than that! Bottom line: beets and beats both have the power to transform your body and your day. Work them both into your routine for more health and happiness.

I'm wishing you and yours a very Happy Valentine's Day. We're cooking up something special at Poco, of course, and it would be great to see you here! You can make your reservations here .

Until next time...