Most people’s diets don’t necessarily include beets, but they should. These strange root vegetables may have a number of health benefits, ranging from reduced blood pressure to improved athletic performance.
They also contain a variety of minerals and compounds not found in many other foods.
Adding beets to a salad or sipping beet juice is a simple way to incorporate them into your diet. The following are six benefits why you should eat beets.
Blood pressure has been proven to be reduced by beets
Beets contain nitrates, which the body turns into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator that relaxes and opens blood vessels, which helps lower blood pressure, according to Dana Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA medical Center and professor at the Fielding School of Public Health.
Patients with hypertension were able to lower their blood pressure by ingesting 250 mL of beetroot juice daily for four weeks in a small 2015 experiment.
Beets can help lower blood pressure in older, overweight persons, according to a small 2014 study.
Anti-inflammatory qualities of beets
The dark red color of beets is due to betain, a phytonutrient produced by plants that has antioxidant properties.
According to Hunnes, the potential of betalain to suppress the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme, which is connected to inflammation, makes it anti-inflammatory.
Chronic inflammation harms healthy tissue and increases your risk of long-term health problems like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. “Chronic inflammation is like iron rusting,” Hunnes explains. “It will decay if you don’t remove the rust and continue to expose it to the environment.”
Researchers discovered that supplementing with either cooked beets or raw beet juice for two weeks lowered systemic inflammation in people with high blood pressure in a small 2016 study.
Raw beet juice was even more effective at reducing inflammation than cooked beets.
Beets may aid with weight loss
Filling foods might help you feel full and avoid overeating when you’re attempting to lose weight.
“Beets are high in both water and fiber. This can help you feel fuller for longer by keeping you hydrated and fuller for longer “Hunnes concurs.
According to Hunnes, beets are also low in calories and have a high protein content for a root vegetable, making them a suitable choice for weight loss. For example, one cup of beets contains:
A total of 3.81 grams of dietary fiber
2.19 grams of protein
58.5 calorie count
Beets can help you poop more easily
According to Hunnes, the high fiber and water content of beets also improve digestion. By bulking up your stool, fiber aids in regular bowel movements and reduces constipation.
According to a meta-analysis of five studies published in 2012, fiber can increase stool frequency.
Eating adequate fiber can help prevent colon cancer, gastroesophageal reflux illness, and diverticulitis.
Beets may aid in the maintenance of brain health
Beets lower blood pressure, which helps to minimize the risk of stroke and other brain illnesses.
“The risk of stroke and other cognitive problems increases when blood pressure is high.
As a result, lowering blood pressure improves blood flow to the brain while also increasing the volume of blood reaching it “Hunnes concurs.
Beet nitrates may also have a role in brain health. According to a 2011 research of older persons, nitrates improved blood flow to critical brain regions like the frontal lobe, which is connected to attention and working memory.
Beets may improve athletic performance
Because of their effect on mitochondria, the energy-producing component of the cell, nitrates found in beets may help athletes perform better.
According to Hunnes, nitrates increase the efficiency of cellular mitochondria.
“Because mitochondria provide energy to your cells,” Hunnes continues, “anything that improves their function will help with athletic performance.”
According to a small 2016 study, a betalain-rich beet concentrate can aid competitive runners in improving their performance. Those who received the beet concentrate felt less weary than those who received a placebo.
Lactate dehydrogenase, a muscle damage marker, was also shown to be lower. Nitrates from beet juice were found to alleviate muscle fatigue in a small research published in 2019.
These benefits can be obtained without eating beets on a regular basis.
According to Hunnes, eating beets before a workout can help. It’s best to consume the beets two to three hours before exercising because nitrate levels in the blood peak two to three hours after eating.
She recommends 300 milligrams of active ingredients, which is 1.5 cups of beet juice.
It’s possible that you’ll be able to improve your endurance
It’s possible that the color of elite athletes’ pee in a drug test cup will be crimson. Why?
Because beets contain pigments that cause urine to turn pink, many athletes eat them because they believe nitrates boost endurance performance. Bicyclists who drank beet juice were able to ride 15 percent harder in a time trial until they were weary in one research.
It takes three to five beets (depending on their size, which varies greatly) to receive a performance boost, according to study author Andy Jones, PhD, dean of research in the University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences.
Peak nitrate levels, according to him, occur two to three hours after eating or drinking them. If you want to beat your 5K personal best, make sure you timing your intake correctly.
You might be better at dealing with chronic conditions
Beets are also strong in betalains, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that fights free radicals and inflammation in chronic illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, and cancer.
Betacyanin, the purple pigment found in beets, has showed promise against laboratory-grown breast cancer cells and is currently being explored as a cancer fighter, according to studies.