Health Benefits of Beets
Eating more beets will help boost your health, thanks to disease-fighting antioxidants and nutrients like folate and potassium. These veggies also contain nitrates that are converted into nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels for improved circulation and lower blood pressure.
Nitrates also enhance exercise performance by improving oxygen uptake and increasing stamina. Plus, beets contain dietary fiber to support regularity and lower your risk of constipation.
For those who struggle with high blood pressure, a regular intake of beets (especially the root) may help lower it. That’s because beets contain inorganic nitrates that the body converts to nitric oxide, helping to relax and widen blood vessels. That reduces the resistance to blood flow and helps reduce the strain on the heart, explains a 2019 study in “Biomolecules.”
Another health benefit of beets is that they’re an excellent source of potassium, which improves cardiovascular function and lowers high blood pressure. Plus, they have antioxidants that help prevent oxidative stress, the imbalance between oxidants and anti-oxidants that’s linked to chronic diseases.
Beets also have vitamin C, which is an important nutrient for healthy skin and bones, along with the B vitamins that are essential for energy production and metabolic function. They’re rich in phytochemicals, particularly betalains and anthocyanins, which are antioxidant pigments that have anti-inflammatory properties, per Harvard Health Publishing. This can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and soothe joint pain.
The antioxidants in beets help detoxify your liver and kidneys, as well as decreasing inflammation. And the dietary nitrates they contain (which are converted to nitric oxide in your body) can reduce blood pressure and improve oxygen flow to areas of your brain.
Research shows that drinking beet juice significantly lowers systolic blood pressure, which helps to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide folate and potassium, which aid in the health of your heart and blood vessels.
While you can enjoy beets in salads, soups and roasted form, the best way to get the most of their nutrients is by eating them raw. Cooking beets decreases their nutritional content, but you can still eat them by lightly steaming them or adding them to smoothies and juices. And if your urine turns pink or red after eating beets, don’t worry — it’s normal and called beeturia. This is due to the high levels of betalains in them.
Blood Sugar Control
Many people cruise by beets in the grocery store or consciously avoid them, but they are worthy of a second look. They are packed with nutrients that can help reduce inflammation, support blood health and promote healthy blood sugar levels. Beets are rich in a group of plant nutrients called betalains. Red and purple beets contain a specific type of betalains, betacyanins, while yellow and golden beets are rich in a different group, betaxanthins.
Beets and beet juice are high in nitrates, which can widen blood vessels and boost oxygen flow. This can help lower blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In addition, a study found that obese patients who consumed beet juice along with carbohydrates showed less insulin resistance than those who didn’t drink the same beverage. This might be because beets can decrease insulin resistance and improve glucose metabolism. You can add beets to your diet steamed and roasted, shredded atop salads or tacos or added into smoothies.
Beets (technically, beetroot) are a vibrant, pinkish-purple root vegetable eaten cooked or raw. They improve blood pressure, reduce inflammation, help detoxify the body and support brain health.
You can eat them sliced raw, blended into a smoothie, juiced, roasted, pickled or in soups. Canned beets, however, provide less nutrition than fresh beets and may contain added salt.
The health benefits of beets are derived largely from their natural plant pigments, betalains. The Cleveland Clinic states that these potent compounds act as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. They also increase nitric oxide in your body, which improves oxygen flow to the brain, according to research published in Nutrients in July 2019.
The dietary nitrates in beets are converted to nitric oxide, which relaxes the muscles and blood vessels to lower blood pressure naturally, says functional medicine practitioner Inna Melamed, Pharm.D, author of Digestive Reset. Beets are also a great source of folate, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C.