Beets

beets - benefits of beets

Benefits Of Beets

The benefits of beets started out thousands of years has been used as a folk remedy.  Just a little bit adds a sweet and nutritious punch to your salad.  In addition to fresh, look for pre-steamed beets in your local produce section or no sugar added varieties in jars.

Many people are missing out on including them in whole form in their regular diet.

There’s good reason to do so, in fact, as beets contain a variety of unique health-boosting nutrients that you may not be getting elsewhere. Plus, they’re delicious!

Why Eat Beets? 6 Top Health Benefits Of Beets

Beet roots have always been included in my most recommended vegetables list, although they are in the “use sparingly” category because of their high carbohydrate levels.

Although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week (and their greens in unlimited quantities), enjoying not only their sweet, earthy flavor but also their powerhouse nutrients that may improve your health in the following ways.

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1. Lower Your Blood Pressure

Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points.

The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

2. Boost Your Stamina

If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer. The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.

3. Fight Inflammation

Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.

4. Anti-Cancer Properties

The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer.

5. Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber

Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

6. Detoxification Support

The health benefits of beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.

Eat Your Beet Greens Too

If you simply throw away the green leafy tops to your beets, you’re doing yourself a disservice, as these are among the healthiest part of the plant.
Besides containing important nutrients like protein, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, beet greens also supply significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.  Here in Costa Rica when you are at the farmers market, they will ask if you want to have them cut the greens off.  We’ve gotten a few odd looks when we have said no.

Beet greens actually have even more iron than spinach (another leafy green in the same botanical family) as well as a higher nutritional value overall than the beetroot itself. For more details, read “What Are Beet Greens Good For?” You may be surprised to learn, for instance, that research shows beet greens may:

  • Help ward off osteoporosis by boosting bone strength
  • Fight Alzheimer’s disease
  • Strengthen your immune system by stimulating the production of antibodies and white blood cells

If you’ve never tried beet greens before, don’t let them intimidate you. They can be added raw to vegetable juice or sautéed lightly right along with other greens like spinach and Swiss chard.

Check out our recipe section to find some delicious recipes to add beets to your diet.