October 27, 2020 4 min read
There's nothing more colorful than a vegetable salad garnished with beetroots. Their bright red and yellow pigments add a riot of color to the dullest food. But beets are more than just a color. They're a powerhouse of nutrients which should be eaten often, so here are some beetroot benefits to whet your appetite and beet (get it?) bad health.
One of the most important beetroot benefits is the high amount of natural nitrates. Unlike the nasty ones found in processed foods that are unhealthy, nitrates from fresh veggies are good for your heart.
They form a nitric oxide which relaxes your blood vessels and helps to reduce blood pressure. A study on the effect of beetroot juice on blood pressure found that participants who drank a cup of beetroot juice daily for four weeks had their blood pressure go down.
Of course, this doesn't mean that everyone should ditch their blood pressure medications. It just shows that beets have the potential to complement them. And, it can help keep non-hypertensive people that way, provided they also eat a healthy diet and exercise.
Athletes beat fatigue with beets. OK, no more puns. Beets improve athletic performance by improving the flow of blood, which gets the oxygen needed for burning energy to your muscles. This helps you to work out longer without getting tired.
This is an important beetroot benefit because inflammation has been linked to many health problems like arthritis and heart disease. Antioxidants in beets interfere with the body's inflammatory signals and help to bring it down.
Inflammation is actually a good thing because it helps fight off infections and repairs cellular damage. However, when it gets out of hand, it can actually lead to lead to cellular damage and impaired health.
You've probably had indigestion at least once in your life and it's something you never want to have again. It's a real bother. Beets have lots of fiber, which forms good roughage for the digestive system.
The fiber doesn't get digested but it helps food move easily through the gut. This prevents constipation and other digestive problems like acid reflux. Once it gets to the colon, the beet fiber becomes food for the healthy bacteria which live there. Yeah, you've got bacteria living in your colon- and that's a good thing.
A little-known beetroot benefit is that it's good for the brain. Here's how. It seems like a lot of cognitive diseases happen because of interruptions in nitric oxide pathways. So beetroot nitrates are changed into nitric oxide, which improves communication between different brain cells and leads to better brain health.
The nitrates present in beets also improve cognitive function by improving blood flow to the brain.
Betalain, the compound responsible for the red and yellow color in beetroots has been found to have anti-cancer properties. According to various studies, betalain and other compounds disrupt cell mutations that could lead to cancer. Beetroot extract is also being studied for its effect on human breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.
One of the best beetroot benefits is that it has plenty of nutrients that can boost your immune system and help it fight diseases.
Eating fruits and veggies rich in pigments is good for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are pigments in beets that slow down macular degeneration that causes age-related vision problems. So eat beets in plenty and you'll see well.
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body because it gets rid of impurities. It's the body's official purification system, so it has to be kept as healthy as possible. Beetroot does a good job of this.
Betalain and pectin in beets help get rid of toxins in the liver and they also protect it from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Skin health is another important beetroot benefit. Vitamin C in beets is one of the major components in the production of collagen, which keeps the skin firm and prevents the formation of wrinkles. Staying out in the sun for too long can lead to skin damage by harmful UV rays.
Vitamin C helps to repair this damage. This is why a lot of skincare products have vitamin C as one of the ingredients. Beetroots also have vitamin A which helps with the constant replacement of damaged skin cells.
The high levels of iron in beets indirectly improve skin health by helping transport oxygen and other nutrients to the skin, keeping it healthy.
The fiber in beets prevents cardiovascular disease as it removes excess LDL (bad) cholesterol from the walls of blood vessels and gets rid of it. Beetroot antioxidants also prevent LDL cholesterol from being deposited in blood vessel walls. Betaine, another beet nutrient, reduces the levels of homocysteine, which is potentially harmful to blood vessels.
Blood clots can form due to low levels of potassium in the body. Beetroots are rich in potassium, which relaxes the blood vessels and encourages a better flow of blood. This reduces the risk of blood clots forming and leading to a stroke.
Even if you don't like beets, the beetroot benefits are hard to ignore, so grab a few and make yourself a salad, a smoothie, or whatever makes you happy.