Impressive Health Benefits of Beets
Beetroots, commonly known as beets, are a popular root vegetable used in many cuisines around the world.
Beets are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, some of which have medicinal properties.
What’s more, they are delicious and easy to add to your diet.
Health benefits of beets:
- Beets boast an impressive nutritional profile.
They are low in calories, yet high in valuable vitamins and minerals. In fact, they contain a bit of almost all the vitamins and minerals that you need.
- Help Keep Blood Pressure in Check
Heart disease, including heart attacks, heart failure and stroke, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
And high blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for the development of these conditions.
Studies have shown that beets can significantly lower blood pressure by up to 4–10 mmHg over a period of only a few hours
These blood pressure-lowering effects are likely due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets. In your body, dietary nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels, causing blood pressure to drop
- Can Improve Athletic Performance
Several studies suggest that dietary nitrates may enhance athletic performance.
For this reason, beets are often used by athletes.
Nitrates appear to affect physical performance by improving the efficiency of mitochondria, which are responsible for producing energy in your cells
Eating beets may also improve cycling and athletic performance and increase oxygen use by up to 20%
- May Help Fight Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is associated with a number of diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, liver disease and cancer
Beets contain pigments called betalains, which may potentially possess a number of anti-inflammatory properties
- May Improve Digestive Health
Dietary fiber is an important component of a healthy diet.
It has been linked to many health benefits, including improved digestion.
One cup of beetroot contains 3.4 grams of fiber, making beets a good fiber source.
Fiber bypasses digestion and heads down to the colon, where it either feeds the friendly gut bacteria or adds bulk to stool.
This can promote digestive health, keep you regular and prevent digestive conditions like constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulitis
Moreover, fiber has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases including colon cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes
- May Help Support Brain Health
Mental and cognitive function naturally decline with age.
For some, this decline is significant and may result in conditions like dementia.
A reduction in blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain may contribute to this decline
Interestingly, the nitrates in beets may improve mental and cognitive function by promoting the dilation of blood vessels and thus increasing blood flow to the brain
Beets have been shown to particularly improve blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain, an area associated with higher-level thinking, such as decision making and working memory .
- May Have Some Anti-Cancer Properties
Cancer is a serious and potentially fatal disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells.
The antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory nature of beets have led to an interest in its ability to prevent cancer.
Beetroot extract has been shown to reduce the division and growth of tumor cells in animals.
One test-tube study using human cells found that beetroot extract, which is high in betalain pigments, reduced the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells.
- May Help You Lose Weight
Beets have several nutritional properties that should make them good for weight loss.
First, beets are low in calories and high in water.
Increasing your intake of low-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables has been associated with weight loss.
Furthermore, despite their low calorie content, beets contain moderate amounts of protein and fiber. These are both important nutrients for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
The fiber in beets may also help promote weight loss by reducing appetite and promoting feelings of fullness, thereby reducing overall calorie intake.
Here are some delicious and interesting ways to add more beets to your diet:
Beetroot salad: Grated beets make a flavorful and colorful addition to coleslaw.
Beetroot dip: Beets blended with Greek yogurt make a delicious and healthy dip.
Beetroot juice: Fresh beetroot juice is best, as store-bought juice can be high in added sugars and may only contain a small amount of beets.
Beetroot leaves: Beet leaves can be cooked and enjoyed like spinach, so don’t throw them out.