Beets have amazing health benefits and have an important place in a healthy diet. Beets are a sweet root vegetable that are full of important vitamins and minerals. Both the red beet root and the beetroot greens can be eaten hot or cold in delicious salads, soups and meals. You can also juice beetroot to get a concentrated shot of its nutrients to take advantage of its powerful health-boosting properties. Studies have shown that the health benefits of beets include detoxing your body, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, improving heart heath and stamina, and boosting brain function.
In this article, you will find out what science has to say on the amazing ways beetroot can improve your health. You will also find some practical tips on how to incorporate more beets into your diet to help protect your health in many ways.
THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF BEETS
Beets are a rich source of nutrients that are needed for a healthy body. For example, beetroot contains vitamins A, C and B-group vitamins. They are also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese, as well as fiber.
It’s not just the roots of beets that are good for you. The tops, or greens, of beets are also full of fiber, minerals, and vitamins and are one of its healthiest parts. In fact, according to NutritionalData.com, just 1/2 cup of raw beet greens gives you almost all of your recommended daily amount of vitamin K, which is essential for healthy blood, strong bones, and in preventing heart disease.2 Beet greens also contain a high amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, as well as nutrients like potassium, manganese, iron, and fiber, all of which are necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The main health benefits of beets come from the pigment betalains, which give them the dark rich color. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, betalains have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can improve your health in a number of ways.
Let’s look at the many ways that beetroot can help boost your health and help keep you feeling great and full of energy.
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEETS
BEETS HELP TO DETOX YOUR ENTIRE BODY
The powerful antioxidants in beets can help to detoxify your whole body and prevent disease. Beetroot contains compounds that support detoxification in the body and can help to strengthen the immune system.
The journal Nutrients published extensive research into the antioxidant properties of beets and found that as well as betalains, there are many other antioxidants in beetroot. These can help to break down toxins in your body so that they can be easily flushed out. The research also found that beetroot extracts help to get rid of free radicals from your body cells.
In fact, studies have shown that juiced beetroot is one of the most potent antioxidant drinks from all vegetable and fruit juices.
So, to help your body get rid of harmful toxins and prevent developing chronic diseases, make sure and regularly consume beets as part of a healthy diet.
BEET JUICE LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
Beets also have the potential to lower your blood pressure naturally. The reason that beetroot is good for hypertension is due to its content of inorganic nitrate. When you consume beets, the nitrate content is converted into nitric oxide which helps to improve blood flow. This has a beneficial effect on your cardiovascular system and helps to reduce blood pressure.
The blood pressure-lowering effect of beets was proved in a study published in the Nutrition Journal. The researchers found that adding beetroot to your regular diet can help to lower blood pressure and also reduce the risk of heart-related medical conditions. The participants in the study found that within 6 hours after drinking beetroot juice their blood pressure levels were significantly lowered.
BEETS TO LOWER CHOLESTEROL
Beetroot and beet greens can help to lower cholesterol naturally and prevent the health complications that high cholesterol cause. The antioxidants, flavonoids, and folic acid in beets help to reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol, which the American Heart Association term as “bad cholesterol”7).
The journal Nutrition Research and Practice found that in clinical trials, red beet leaf extracts helped to reduce dangerous levels of LDL cholesterol in mice. They also found that that the beet greens extract had a beneficial effect on weight loss because it helped to reduce body fat.
If you are looking for a healthy snack, then you should replace your regular potato chips with beetroot crisps to help lower cholesterol. A study published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease found that beet chips reduced levels of bad cholesterol and that they had a positive effect on blood glucose.
BEETS ARE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
Eating beets regularly can help keep you in good health. The beneficial effect of beets on health is due to their anti-inflammatory effects on the body which help prevent various diseases. Doctors say that if inflammation in the body isn’t resolved, the result can be that chronic inflammatory diseases develop.
The journal Nutrients reported that the anti-inflammatory compounds in beets help to reduce inflammation in many areas of the body. The journal mentioned some studies showing that beetroot extract can actually have a similar effect to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medications.
You can boost the anti-inflammatory power of beets by making a beet and ginger juice. Ginger is also known to reduce inflammation in the body and is great for keeping your digestive system healthy. This beet juice recipe can help to reduce the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. To make an anti-inflammatory juice from beet, please read my article on how to make a beet and ginger juice to reduce inflammation.
BEETROOT PREVENTS HEART DISEASE
Regularly consuming fresh and cooked beetroot in your diet can help prevent various forms of heart disease and reduce the risk of stroke. Beets contain a high amount of folate (vitamin B9) which has a therapeutic effect on the heart. Also, betaine, which is found in beets, can help promote a healthy heart.
One study into betaine supplements found that they can help to reduce levels of homocysteine and, therefore, reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.
Other studies have found that the compound betaine found in beets can help to alleviate angina pain, shortness of breath, reduce blood pressure, and generally improve your cardiovascular system.
BEETS IMPROVE STAMINA AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Both whole beets and beet juice can help improve athletic performance and give you more energy. The body converts nitrate into energy and is safe to ingest in vegetable form through beets.
One study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that consuming baked beetroot helped runners to run faster and for longer. The researchers said that beetroot improves running performance in healthy adults.
Other studies have found that drinking juice from beets can help you to work out better and more effectively. Researchers found that taking beetroot juice before exercising helps to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood, reduce blood pressure and improve physiological responses to exercise.
BEETS DETOX YOUR LIVER AND KIDNEYS
If you want to get rid of toxins from your liver, you should consume beetroot regularly. This can help to keep both your liver and kidneys working well and in good health. The beneficial effect of beets on liver and kidney health is thanks to the way betaine detoxifies these organs.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that extracts of beetroot help to prevent fat accumulating in the liver and reduces oxidative stress. Other studies have found that beets have the power to prevent kidney damage and get rid of free radicals that can cause kidney disease.
Read my article how to detox your liver with a super beet smoothie. You can also find out more information on how to strengthen your liver and how to improve your kidneys health.
BEETS CAN IMPROVE COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE
The nitrate content of beets can help to improve brain function and improve memory. Nitrate helps to increase blood flow to the brain which can help to boost your cognitive performance.
For example, researchers have found that increasing beet intake in diet can help to improve memory and mind tasks in older adults. The study found that beets actually stimulated blood flow to the specific areas of the brain where it was needed the most.
When taken along with SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine), beets can also help naturally balance the levels of dopamine in the brain which can help to reduce the symptoms of depression.
The antioxidant properties of beets can also help to prevent Parkinson’s disease due to the increase of dopamine that beets provide.
BEETS HELP PREVENT DEMENTIA
Another health benefit of eating more beets is that they can help to prevent the onset of dementia. As mentioned in the previous section, beets increase the flow of blood to the brain and improve brain function.
Doctors from WebMD say that a study into the effect of beets on brain health has found that beet juice could help fight the progression of dementia.21 The study, published by the Wake Forest University found that after four days of drinking beetroot juice, MRI scans showed that there was more blood flow in the area of the brain that is connected with dementia and other cognitive conditions.
BEETROOT CAN HELP PREVENT CANCER
There are some promising studies showing that beet extracts have an anti-cancer effect and can help to prevent certain cancers from developing. Researchers have said that “ingesting beetroot is a useful means to prevent cancer.”
SIDE EFFECTS OF EATING BEETS
One of the most noticeable side effects of consuming more beets in your diet is that they can turn your stool and urine pink or red (medically called beeturia). There is a lot that the color of your stool can tell about your health, but pinkish stool or urine due to eating beets is not something to be worried about.
Doctors from the NHS in the United Kingdom say that some foods, including beets, prevent calcium being absorbed into your body. This can cause kidney stones to form due to the buildup of calcium in your kidneys.24
Eating beets regularly in your diet could also be one of the reasons for your teeth turning yellow.
TIPS ON STORING AND COOKING BEETS
Beets can be stored through the winter if they are in a cool dark place that is slightly humid. If stored in warm dry places, beets will tend to sprout and shrivel up.
You can also store beets by freezing them. Before freezing beets, you have to cook them until tender. Then chop or slice the beets and store in the freezer.
According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, beets can lose their health benefits if cooked for too long. They recommend cutting medium-sized beets into quarters, leave the skin on, and then steaming them for 15 minutes. You can roast beets for up to one hour in the oven.3
Alternatively, you can make a delicious traditional Russian soup called borscht. This combines beets, onions, red cabbage and parsley in a broth. This way, you can create a delicious meal that uses all the health benefits of beets.