Beets (Beta vulgaris) are root vegetables that look like turnips. They have rough outer skins that cover their roots, plus long green stems and leaves.
Cutting beets produces a red juice that could stain your hand. This pigment is used as a natural alternative to commercial food colorings and is often used in food products like candy, jams, and plant-based burgers.
Phytonutrients called betalains are responsible for beets' bright red hue. Betanin and vulgaxanthin, two of the most popular betalains, possess incredible anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties.
Beetroots contain the following vitamins and minerals:
Here are 10 reasons to add more beets to your diet.
Endurance athletes consume beetroot juice to boost their performance. The juice improves oxygen flow, ensuring that the athletes' hearts and lungs don’t need to work too hard during vigorous activities.
For best results, research suggests drinking beetroot juice at least 90 minutes before you exercise. (Related: Perform better mentally AND physically with beets.)
Inflammation is linked to certain health conditions like cancer, heart disease, and obesity.
Betalains help minimize inflammation by inhibiting the inflammatory signaling process.
Fiber-rich beets are good for your gut health.
The fiber content of beets isn't digested in your stomach and small intestine. Instead, beet fiber travels to the colon and "good" gut bacteria ferment it and use it for food.
Fiber is a good source of roughage, which moves food through the intestines. Consuming fiber-rich foods prevents health problems like acid reflux, colon cancer, constipation, hemorrhoids, and obesity.
An interruption in nitric oxide pathways is linked to various cognitive diseases. Nitrates in beets boost brain function by improving oxygen flow.
Vegetables like beets, carrots, and spinach are full of compounds called nitrates.
Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide inside the body. Nitric oxide helps open up blood vessels, which then lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Beets and other plants that are naturally rich in nitrates are also full of vitamin C.
In a study published in the journal Hypertension, researchers found that consuming at least one cup of beetroot juice daily for four weeks helps lower blood pressure.
The antioxidant properties of beets can protect cells from free radical damage.
Betanin from beets is believed to have anti-cancer properties. Research suggests that beet extracts can be used in chemotherapy.
Beets are rich in vitamins and minerals that boost immune health. These nutrients include copper, zinc, and vitamins A and C.
Beets, along with fruits and vegetables that are full of beneficial pigments, are good for your eye health.
Beets contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These two pigments are often studied because they can boost eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin also help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
Beets contain antioxidants, betaine, iron, and vitamin B, which are nutrients that boost liver health.
Beetroot can also protect the liver from oxidative damage and inflammation. Betaine helps the liver get rid of toxins while betalains promote detoxification.
Beets are full of boron, a mineral essential for sex hormone production. According to studies, beet juice can help address erectile dysfunction.
Add superfoods like beets to your diet to enjoy their many benefits, such as boosting your digestion, immunity, and heart health.