The Top 5 Unexpected Health Benefits Of Beets (+ Creative Ways To Use Them)

These deep red-purple root vegetables have a particularly distinct sweet, earthy flavor. They stain everything they touch and are loved by some and hated by others. Despite the fact that beets contain the highest sugar content of any vegetable, they are absolutely brimming with powerful and essential nutrients…

Check out these surprising health benefits of beets...


A Brief History Of Beets

Beets are root vegetables that are scientifically known as Beta vulgaris, and are also commonly called red beet, table beet, garden beet and beetroot. These robustly colored round maroon vegetables have a strong, distinctive and sweet flavor. Today’s beets evolved from the ancient wild seabeet, which dates back to prehistoric times when it grew naturally along the coastlines of North Africa, Asia and Europe. However, it was the greens of the vegetable that were consumed back then, and they were used mainly for medicinal purposes, such as a laxative and to relieve fever. Over time, new varieties of beetroot were developed in Europe, including the red beet, which we are most familiar with today. It wasn’t until the red beet started being cultivated during the Roman era that the root became more of a food staple. By the 19th century, beets were widely consumed across Europe, and were appreciated for their natural sweetness. People started using them as a source of sugar, and the genetically-modified sugar beets are a common raw material used to produce sugar.


The Nutritional Value Of Beets

You should know by now that beets are very sweet (they are used to make sugar!), but, despite the fact that they have the highest sugar content of any vegetable, they are packed full of valuable nutrients. Beets are high in fiber, folate (vitamin B9), potassium, iron, manganese and immune-boosting vitamin C. They also boast beneficial organic compounds including carotenoids and flavonoids, while being low in calories. It is fairly safe to eat beetroot a few times a week, and the beet greens can be enjoyed in unlimited amounts.

Nutritional Information (1 raw beet at 82g)

Calories – 35

Total Fat – 0g

Cholesterol – 0mg

Sodium – 64mg

Total Carbohydrates – 8g

Dietary Fiber – 2g

Sugar – 6g

Protein – 1g

Vitamin C – 7% of RDI

Iron – 4% of RDI

Calcium – 1% of RDI

Vitamin A – 1% of RDI

Folate – 22% of RDI

Potassium – 8% of RDI

Magnesium – 5% of RDI

Manganese – 13% of RDI

Nutritional value of beets

Nutritional Information (2 cooked beets at 100g)

Calories – 44

Total Fat – 0g

Cholesterol – 0mg

Sodium – 77mg

Total Carbohydrates – 10g

Dietary Fiber – 2g

Sugar – 8g

Protein – 2g

Vitamin C – 6% of RDI

Iron – 4% of RDI

Calcium – 2% of RDI

Vitamin A – 1% of RDI

Folate – 20% of RDI

Potassium – 9% of RDI

Magnesium – 6% of RDI

Manganese – 16% of RDI

Health Benefits Of Beets

If you love that sweet, earthy taste of these beautifully colored vegetables, then you will be happy to learn about the powerful health benefits of beets!

1. Beets May Lower Blood Pressure

Drinking a glass of beet juice has been found to potentially lower blood pressure almost immediately. A study found that within hours of consuming the juice, systolic blood pressure dropped by an average of 4 to 5 points when trialed on healthy men. It is believed the result comes from the naturally-occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. This helps dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow, which, in turn, lowers blood pressure. Although the result was relatively small, researchers concluded that the reduction would equate to a 10% reduction in heart disease deaths on a public level.

Beets for blood pressure

2. Beets Fight Inflammation

The betaine in beets help protect cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress, as well as fighting inflammation, protecting internal organs, decreasing vascular risks, and potentially helping to prevent certain chronic diseases. This nutrient is made from the B-complex vitamin, choline, which helps regulate the cardiovascular system and inflammation in the body. As well as being a unique source of betaine, beets are also a unique source of phytonutrients called betalain, including betanin and vulgaxanthin. These are the two best-studied betalains in beets, and have both shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support. The exceptional concentration of betalains in beet flesh and peel is far higher than other vegetables and fruits, like rhubarb and chard, that also contain the phytonutrient. One study found that red beet products consumed regularly may provide protection against certain oxidative stress-related disorders in humans, because of their high betalain concentration.


3. Beets Boost Stamina

The nitrates in beets prove valuable again here, because, when turned into nitric oxide in the body, they may reduce the oxygen use in low-intensity exercise and increase tolerance to high-intensity exercise. When consumed as a juice, the nitrates are fast-acting and can increase stamina during a workout. A number of studies have confirmed the effects of nitrates on athletic performance. One study from the University of Exeter’s School of Sport and Health Sciences found that drinking beet juice could help you exercise for up to 16% longer. Researchers looked at eight cyclists consuming half-a-liter (500ml) of beet juice over a six-day period. The juice contained nearly 700mg of naturally-occurring nitrate.

Beet juice for stamina

4. Beets May Improve Brain Function

We’ve already looked at how the nitric oxide in beets relaxes and dilates blood vessels, and, as well as lowering blood pressure and boosting stamina, this also increases blood flow to the brain. As a result, brain function might be improved, which is particularly important in ageing people. Research shows that our capacity to generate nitric oxide reduces as we age, as well as the brain’s energy metabolism and neuron activity. A 2010 study found that dietary nitrate may be useful in improving brain function in older adults. Researchers looked at 14 older men and women, who consumed beet juice as part of a high-nitrate diet, for two days. As a result, there was increased blood flow to the frontal lobe of their brains, which is a region known to be involved in executive functioning like focus, organization and attention to detail.

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