Beets may be one of the underrated root crops for its health benefits, but do not be misled! This reddish wonder provides many bonuses for your well-being and you may just be surprised. Read further to find out more about the advantages of adding beets to your diet.
Although not as common as lettuces and spinach in the fresh food sections of grocery stores, beets definitely provides a distinct flavor and a great addition to salads and dishes. It is popular for its reddish hue and its ability to provide a unique color profile to your meals along with the health benefits it provides. What do beets really do for the body? Before understanding this, let us find out more about the nature of beets.
What are Beets?
The tap root portion of the beet plant is called the beetroot . Like carrots, radishes, or other kinds of root crops, it contains the upper portion with the stems and leaves. However, the widely used part is its roots, which are commonly eaten raw or cooked. The leaves can also be eaten and the whole plant can be extracted to get beet juice.
In North America, the beetroot is simply known as the beet. In some portions of the globe, it is called table beet, garden beet, or golden beet. Many beetroot products are made from the sugar beet variety, especially for those items that require the juice or the juice concentrate. Beetroot is widely used as a food coloring or a natural remedy.
Now that we learned more about the nature of beets, let us discover the health benefits it provides. Take note–some of them may surprise you!
What are the Top Benefits of Beets?
1. Beets Can Help Lower Blood Pressure.
High blood pressure is caused by many factors such as diet, age, or genetic predisposition. There are dangers in having chronic high blood pressure, as it can harden your arteries or cause blockages in your circulatory system. A thick consistency of the blood can cause circulation to become slower, which can present itself with the following physical signs:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart palpitations
- Swelling in extremities
- Inability to do physical work
If you are suffering from high blood pressure, you are also at risk for other complications such as cardiac arrest, heart failure, or other cardio-respiratory problems. Beetroot can help the blood vessels relax, making the flow go smoothly and lowering your overall blood pressure.
2. Beets Can Help in Reducing Risk of Heart Failure.
There are some studies that show that those who are at risk for heart failure have a condition called “stiffened hearts”, which is characterized by hardened arteries and chronic high blood pressure.
It was discovered in these cases that people who have the heart failure risk often have low levels of nitric oxide, which is responsible for the dilation of the blood vessels. When the blood vessels are constantly stiff, it restricts the circulation, thus making the heart muscles attempt to pump more blood and get overworked. When the heart constantly pumps more than it can, there is always heart failure as a complication.
Beets contain a good amount of nitric oxide which helps blood vessels dilate in a short amount of time after consumption. Beetroot juice has been reported to present positive effects in 2-3 hours helping the blood vessels to relax and improve blood flow in the body.
3. Beets Can Help Improve Physical Performance.
Beetroot juice has been gaining popularity with athletes because of its benefits in physical strength and endurance. There are some studies that suggest that the nutrients found in beets can help people maintain stamina in high-intensity activities. The study showed a 15-25% improvement in reducing resting periods for men who engaged in rigorous physical activity.
Additionally, including beets in your diet can help improve cycling and athletic performance. The studies suggest that those who take beets use up oxygen 20% more efficiently than the control group. For the best benefits, athletes were advised to take juice 2-3 hours before their performance or workout. Optimal endurance was observed when participants in the study drank the juice or ate the beets and took time for digestion and absorption.
4. Beets May Help Fight Against Inflammation.
Inflammation is one of the top causes of chronic diseases, such as organ malfunctions and autoimmune disorders. When tissues are inflamed, the more it is likely to cause dysfunction in the body.
There are studies that show how beets can be beneficial against inflammation. Beetroot juice and other products supposedly contain betalains, which have potentially anti-inflammatory properties. For example, a group of patients given a capsule containing betalains reported lower incidence of pain and inflammation. This suggests that including beetroot juice or supplements in your diet may be helpful if you have inflammatory conditions.
5. Beets Can Help Improve Digestion.
Although not as widely suggested as a fiber-rich source, beets actually contain a proportionately large amount of fiber per serving. A single cup of beetroot already contains 3.4 grams of fiber, making it possible for you to take in that much roughage even with a low amount of calories.
Fiber is helpful for your digestive health because it passes through your large intestines and helps clean up the stools that may have a hard time getting through. Having enough fiber is linked to reduced risk of digestive-health related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and even heart disease.
6. Beets Can Help Improve Brain Performance.
The wear and tear of the body may cause mental function to decline over time. This causes people to develop cognition-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and even Parkinson’s disease.
Consequently, the nitrates that are found in beets can help improve brain function as well. This works by improving blood flow in the brain, particularly the frontal lobe which is responsible for memory and critical decision-making. There are studies that show people who have improved reaction times upon performing a computer-related task after drinking beetroot juice.
7. Beets may Help Fight Cancer.
Researchers have long been finding treatments that help in fighting cancer cells. So far, beets have been showing promising results in recent studies. Beets contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, making scientists grow interest in their ability to kill cancer cells.
A study done with beetroot extract proved that it slowed down the growth of human prostate and breast cancer cells. More research is under way to help improve the results of beetroot-based medicinal products.
Improve Your Health With Beets
Are you looking for a healthy addition to your diet with serious health benefits? Look no further–beets may just be the perfect solution for improving your blood pressure, digestive health, brain function and even lower your risk for cancer.
Charles Watson currently is the head content writer for Sunshine Behavioral Health. When not writing new content, you can catch him reading new material from his favorite author Tim Ferriss. A lifelong Michigan resident…