Beets have a number of amazing health benefits and have an important place in a healthy diet. Beets are a sweet root vegetable and 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 use the beetroot in a juice to get a concentrated shot of its nutrients in order to take full advantage of the powerful and health boosting properties it contains. Studies have shown that the health benefits of beets include detoxing the body, lowering the blood pressure and cholesterol, improving heart health and stamina and boosting the function of the brain.
In this article, you will find out what science has to say for the amazing ways that the beetroot can improve your health. Additionally, you can also find some practical tips on how to incorporate more beets into your diet in order 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 vitamin A, vitamin C and B-group vitamins. They are also a great source of iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and manganese, as well as fiber.
It is not just the beetroot that is good for you. The tops, or greens, of beets are also full of fiber, minerals and vitamins and are one of the healthiest parts of the beets. In fact, according to NutritionalData.com, just half a cup of raw beet greens gives you almost all of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K, which is essential for healthy blood, strong bones and for the prevention of heart disease. Beet greens also contain an enormous amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, as well as nutrients such as potassium, manganese, iron and fiber, all of which are essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The main benefit of beets comes from the pigment betalains, which gives them their dark rich color. According to a study, betalains have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can improve the overall health in many ways. Let us look at some of the ways that beetroot can help boost our health and help keep us feeling great and full of energy.
The Health Benefits of Beets
Beets Help To Detox Your Entire Body
The potent antioxidants in the beets can help to detoxify your whole body and prevent a number of diseases. 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 a great number of other antioxidants in beetroot. These can help to break down toxins in your body so that they can get rid of easily. The research found out that beetroot extracts help to get rid of free radicals from your body cells as well.
In fact, studies have shown that juiced beetroot is one of the most powerful antioxidant drinks from all vegetables 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 the 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 the blood flow. This has a beneficial effect on your cardiovascular system and helps to reduce the blood pressure.
The blood pressure lowering effects of beets was proven in a study published in the Nutrition Journal. The researchers found that adding beetroot to your regular diet can help in lowering blood pressure and also reducing 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 substantially lowered.
Beets to Lower Cholesterol
Beetroot and beet greens can help in lowering the cholesterol naturally and prevent the health complications that high cholesterol can cause. The antioxidants, flavonoids and folic acid in the beets helps to reduce the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol, which the American heart Association noted as ‘bad cholesterol’).
The journal Nutrition Research and Practice found that in clinical trials, red beet leaf extracts helped to reduce the dangerous levels of LDL cholesterol in mice. They also found that the beet greens extract had a beneficial effect on weight loss since it helps in reducing body weight fat.
If you are looking for a health snack, then you should replace your regular potato chips with beetroot crisps to help lower your cholesterol. A study published in the journal Lipis in Health and Disease found that beet chips reduced levels of bad cholesterol and that they had a positive effect on the glucose in the blood.
Beets Are Anti-Inflammatory
Eating beets regularly can help keep you in good health. The beneficial effect of beets on the health is due to their anti-inflammatory effects on the body which helps to prevent a number of diseases. Doctors say that if inflammation in the body is not resolved, the result can be chronic inflammatory disease developing.
The journal Nutrients reported that the anti-inflammatory compounds in beets helps to reduce the inflammation in many areas of the body. The journal also mentioned some studies that showed that the beetroot extract can actually have a similar effect to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).
Beetroot Prevents Heart Disease
Regularly consuming fresh and cooked beetroot in your diet can help to prevent a number of different 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. In addition, betaine, which is found in beets, can also help to promote a healthy heart.
One study into betaine supplements found that they can assist to reduce the levels of homocysteine and thus reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Increased levels of homocysteine have been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke.
Other studies have also found that the compound betaine, which is found in beets, can help to alleviate angina pain, shortness of breath, reduce the blood pressure and improve your cardiovascular system overall.
Beets Improve Stamina and Athletic Performance
Both whole beets and beet juice can help to improve the athletic performance and give you more energy. The body convert nitrate into energy and is safe to ingest in vegetable form through beets.
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that consuming baked beetroot helped runners run faster and for longer periods of time. The researchers said that beetroot improves running performance in healthy adults. Other studies have found that drinking the beet juice 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 the blood pressure and improve psychological responses to exercise.
Beets Detox Your Liver and Kidneys
If you want to get rid of toxins from your lives, you should start consuming beetroot regularly. This can help you to keep both your liver and kidneys working well and in good condition. The beneficial effect of beets on the liver and kidney health is thanks to the way betaine detoxifies these organs.
The American Journal of Clinical nutrition reports that extracts of beetroot help to prevent fat from accumulating in the liver and reduces oxidative stress. Other studies have found that beets have the power to prevent kidney damage and eliminate any free radicals that can cause damage to the kidneys.
Beets Can Improve Cognitive Performance
The nitrate content of beets can help to improve the functioning of the brain and improve memory. Nitrate helps to increase the blood flow to the brain which can help to boost the cognitive performance.
For example, researchers have found that increasing the beet intake in your diet can help to improve memory and mind tasks in older adults. The study also found that beets actually stimulated the blood flow to the specific areas of the brain where it was needed the most.
When consumed alongside SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine), beets can alsp help in naturally balancing the levels of dopamine in the brain which can help to reduce the symptoms of depression.
The antioxidant properties of beets can also assist in preventing Parkinson’s disease due to the increased levels of dopamine that the beets provide.
Beets Help Prevent Dementia
Yet 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 can increase the blood flow to the brain and improve its function.
Doctors from WebMD say that a study into the effects of beets on brain health has found that beet juice could help to fight the progression of dementia. 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 from being absorbed in your body. This can cause kidney stones to form due to the buildup of calcium in your kidneys.
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 and 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 they are 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 them steam them for about 15 minutes. You can roast beets for up to one hour in the over.
On the other hand, 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 of the healthy benefits that the beets provide.
Super Anti Inflammatory Beet and Ginger Juice
You can further boost the anti-inflammatory power of the beets by making a beet and ginger juice. Ginger is also known to reduce inflammation in the body and it is great for keeping your digestive system healthy. This beet juice recipe can help to reduce the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
As mentioned before, beets contain a high proportion of phytonutrients, such as betanin, isobetanin and vulgaxanthin that act in an anti-inflammatory way. These are all betanins, red and yellow pigments that give beets their distinctive color.
In addition, beets are also a source of betaine, which if made from choline, B-complex vitamin. Choline plays an important role in regulating inflammation and lowers the non-inflammatory markers, including some connected to cancer.
If you cook the beets for an extended period of time, betalains get destroyed. It is recommended to keep beet steaming times to 15 minutes or less and roasting times under an hours. Keep in mind that consumption of beets can color your urine red or pink. This is known as beeturia and it is usually a normal reaction of eating beets.
Ginger contains strong anti-inflammatory compunds called gingerols, which are especially good for dealing with muscle and arthritis-related pain. Gingerols are chemically related to capsaicin and piperine, which give chili peppers and black peppers their respective spicy kick and healing potential.
Ginger has been studies in relation to its effects on the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Patients reported that regular consumption gradually reduced pain and swelling and improved a wide range of movements in the affected joints.
Ginger is also particularly good for gastro-intestinal problems, helps out with nausea and is a natural treatment for colds and respiratory problems. It can be eaten fresh, cooked or as a powder. During the dehydration process, gingerols transform into shogaols that are twice as spicy as gingerols, thus when the ginger is dried it becomes more pungent.
Beet & Ginger Anti-Inflammatory Juice
Ingredients (use organic if possible):
- 3 kale leaves
- 1 medium orange, peeled and cut
- 1 medium apple, remove the seeds and cut into wedges
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut
- 1 medium beet, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 knob of fresh ginger (about 1 inch long), peeled
- Wash the produce and peel if needed.
- Process the ingredients through a juicer in manageable chunks. Start with the orange and continue with kale, apple, carrot, beet and ginger.
- Put your juice into glasses and serve immediately for best nutritional benefit.