Beets are the powerful purple vegetable that you may remember seeing in your grandma’s garden or that you walk right by when you pass them on the shelves of the local grocery store. But, don’t pass on the beets because they are actually an amazing superfood that can fuel your workouts, keep your blood pressure in check and help fight inflammation among many other benefits that we’ll discuss. So, let’s dig in!
To start, beets offer a wide array of nutrients with few calories. Beets actually contain almost all of the benefits and minerals that we need with just 44 calories per 3.5 ounces. Let’s take a look at the beet’s nutritional label per 3.5 ounces:
- Folate: 20% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
- Manganese: 16% of the RDI
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 6% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 6% of the RDI
- Phosphorous: 4% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 3% of the RDI
- Iron: 4% of the RDI
- Protein: 1.7 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Calories: 44
- Fiber: 2 grams
Now let’s take a look at some amazing benefits of the almighty beet:
- Beets Can Help Keep Blood Pressure in Check: High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for developing many of the leading causes of death worldwide including heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Studies have shown beets can play a significant role in lowering blood pressure. The reason? Beets contain a high concentration of nitrates. In the body, nitrates are turned into nitric oxide which is a molecule that dilates blood vessels and causes blood pressure to drop.
- Beets Can Boost Athletic Performance: Beets are a secret weapon in a lot of athletes’ arsenals and now we’re filling you in on the secret. Research shows that men who consumed 17 ounces of beet juice for six days extended their time to exhaustion during high-intensity exercise by up to 25%. Studies have also shown performance enhancement after drinking beet juice in cycling. Another study found that people who drank beet juice before they worked out were able to exercise up to 16 percent longer.
- Beets are Inflammation Fighters: Both beetroot juice and extract have been shown to reduce kidney inflammation in rats that were injected with toxins known to cause serious injury. A study in humans with osteoarthritis also found that capsules made with beetroot extract reduced pain associated with the condition.
- Beets Can Help Digestion: Beets have been shown to fight indigestion by stimulating the nerves in the intestines and improving the body’s ability to digest food. By boosting digestion, beets can prevent digestive conditions like constipation and inflammatory bowel disease. Since they are packed with fiber, beets can also help reduce colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- Beets Boost Brain Health: Beets are known as brain food that can work to slow the effects of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The nitrates found in beets are at it again. This time, they have been shown to improve mental and cognitive function by facilitating the dilation of blood vessels and increasing blood flow to our brains. What’s more, beets have been shown to improve the flow of blood to the frontal lobe, this area is associated with decision making and memory.
- Beets Can Help Weight Loss Efforts: Beets are a low-calorie food that can help you lose weight thanks to their high fiber content that can help keep you fuller longer and reduce the amount of calories you consume. Since beets are sweet they can also be eaten as a low-calorie dessert. Beets also promote weight loss and fight fat by helping to maintain proper bowel function and lowering cholesterol.
Beets are packed with benefits and they are a delicious, easy add-on to many recipes and your favorite foods. Beets are versatile: they can be cooked, juiced, steamed or pickled. They can also be bought raw, canned or pre-cooked. Since beets are full of dietary nitrates its best to not boil them. Boiling foods with dietary nitrates can remove some of the nitrates and benefits that they bring.
You can enjoy beets in a salad or coleslaw, a dip or hummus, juice and the leaves can also be enjoyed like spinach. If you just done like Beets consider raking a concentrated BeetRoot supplement. They can give you all the benefits of Beets without the taste, prep hassle, all in a convenient easy to take package. Don’t forget the other nutrients that beets bring: fiber, folate and vitamin C. Choose beets that are heavy with their green tops still attached for the most nutritional benefits.