Beets are packed with vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting compounds. Rich in antioxidants, beets can protect your heart, reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, protect against cancer, and help control blood sugar. The vitamin C in beets helps boost your immune system and helps neutralize free radicals in your body. And your body can’t store vitamin C, so you need to be sure to get your daily requirement. Beets pack a lot of nutritious punch into just a few calories.
Here are some of the other ways beets contribute to good health.
Beets contain nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide; this dilates blood vessels and contributes to lowering blood pressure. While blood nitrate levels only remain high for about six hours after ingesting dietary nitrates, the effect of beets on blood pressure is only temporary. You’d have to eat beets on a regular basis to see a meaningful impact on your blood pressure. But, hey, it’s a start.
Research indicates that the nitrates in beets improve the efficiency of the mitochondria—the energy-producing sector of your cells. This, in turn, can contribute to better athletic performance.
Betalains are an anti-inflammatory pigment that gives beets their color. One study in people with osteoarthritis showed that some people experienced reduced pain and discomfort after taking betalain capsules made with beetroot extract.
Beets are packed with fiber. That fiber can feed friendly bacteria in your gut and also aid in an overall healthy digestive system. Fiber has also been linked to a reduction in the risk of chronic diseases, including colon cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
The nitrates in beets help promote the dilation of blood vessels, which can help improve blood flow to the brain. Studies indicate it could also contribute to improved decision making, working memory, and reaction time. One study showed that test subjects who drank just over a half cup of beet juice daily for two weeks scored 4% better on computer-based cognitive tests than subjects who consumed a placebo drink.
Beets are low in calories, and high in water and flavor. They also have moderate amounts of fiber and protein, making them a good addition to a healthy, balanced diet. If you aspire to the dietary guidelines of “eat the rainbow,” you can’t go wrong adding beets to the menu.
Did you know that beets are so healthful? Please tell us your biggest reason for growing and eating beets.