Are you looking to boost your energy levels? Do you want to protect yourself from certain diseases? Are you trying to maintain your weight? Would you like to increase your concentration? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you’ll be happy to know that there is a way that you can do all of that just by adding one vegetable to your diet: beets.
Beetroot, also known as beets, red beets, golden beets, and table beets (all of which are the same thing) is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They’re a powerhouse of nutrients, packed with tons of vitamins and minerals that have been proven to provide a wealth of benefits for overall health and well-being. In fact, beets offer so many benefits that they’re really quite impressive.
If you want to give your health a leg-up, you’re definitely going to want to include beets into your diet. Here’s a look at 20 nutritional benefits this root vegetable will provide for you.
1. They reduce blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is high, you might be able to skip taking prescription medications and keep it in check naturally by eating beets. Beets are a rich source of nitrates, which, when consumed, turn into nitric oxide, which is then transformed into oxygen-rich blood that helps to relax your blood vessels, thus bringing your blood pressure down. Additionally, beets can improve the flow of your blood, further reducing your blood pressure. Research has found that people who were diagnosed with high blood pressure and drank just one glass of beet juice a day actually saw a drop in their levels.
2. Beets can lower blood sugar.
If you have diabetes or you are predisposed to this condition, you should definitely consider eating more beets. In addition to lowering blood pressure, these veggies have also been found to reduce blood sugar levels. Beets are high in soluble fiber, which studies have found can significantly reduce the amount of glucose in the bloodstream.
The reason beets can lower your blood sugar is because of the high amount of soluble fiber they contain.
Research has found that soluble fiber can reduce blood glucose levels because it slows digestion, and slower digestion means slower absorption of glucose.
3. They can help ward off neurodegenerative diseases.
Eating beets can actually help to prevent the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Why? – Because they contain anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to their betaine compounds.
While inflammation is helpful for the body, too much can be destructive, leading to cellular damage in the brain that contributes to the development of these types of diseases. Beets also contain a high amount of antioxidants that protect your body – including your brain – from damage caused by free radicals.
So, if you want to reduce your risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, you should definitely consider eating more of these veggies.
4. Beets increase post-workout recovery time.
If you’re looking to get more out of your workout, beets can definitely help. They have been proven to enhance the rate of recovery time after a workout, which means that your muscles will be able to gain more from exercise.
The compounds in beets can help to widen your blood vessels, which makes it easier for your muscles to absorb vital nutrients. As a result, your muscles will repair themselves more quickly, which leads to increased growth.
Additionally, the nitric oxide found in beets can help to enhance the development of the cells that surround the muscles and rebuild tissue.
5. They enhance your brain activity.
Another way that beets can benefit your health is by enhancing the activity of your brain. As mentioned, these veggies are high in nitric oxide, which helps to promote better blood flow to the brain.
When your brain receives more oxygen-rich blood, your attention span and focus will increase, as will your memory. You’ll also see a difference in your mood.
On top of that, nitric acid is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in triggering neurons, thereby activating your brain and making you feel more alert.
6. Beets improve athletic performance.
If you’re looking to step up your athletic performance, try drinking some beetroot juice. Again, this is because of the high amount of nitrates that these veggies contain. When you ingest nitrates, your body turns it into nitric oxide, a molecule that improves the dilation of your blood vessels.
This action increases the capacity of blood flow, thereby reducing the amount of oxygen your muscles need when you are working out.
In other words, your body will be able to use your oxygen supplies more efficiently, giving you more power to run faster, jump higher, lift more, etc.
7. They contain good carbs.
Contrary to what a lot of people might think, carbohydrates are actually a very important part of your diet – when you’re eating the right type. Beets are an excellent source of fiber, the good carbs. A ½ cup serving size will give you about 8.5 grams of carbs, 1.7 grams of which is dietary fiber.
Fiber is good for you because they fuel your body, giving you the energy that is needed to perform virtually all functions.
Fiber also aids in healthy digestion, which means that eating these veggies can help you maintain your weight.
8. Beets promote healthy bones.
Everyone knows that calcium is vital for the health of their bones. But, did you know that in order for your body to properly absorb calcium and reap the benefits that it provides, you need manganese to help?
Manganese assists your body with the absorption of calcium, and beets are an excellent source of this vital nutrient; a one-cup serving contains about 28 percent manganese.
By eating more beets, you’ll strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of bone loss.
9. Reduce the risk of birth defects.
Women who are pregnant should eat more beets. These veggies contain a wealth of B vitamins, including folate, which is vital for fetal development.
Folate aids in the spinal column of the fetus’; research has found that deficiencies in folate during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of neural tube defects, which can lead to spina bifida and a host of other health complications.
If you are pregnant, you should consider adding more beets to your diet, as they might reduce the risk of birth defects.
10. They treat anemia.
Anemia is a condition that involves a decreased amount of red blood cells circulating through the blood. Red blood cells are important because they contain hemoglobin, a complex protein that is comprised of iron.
If iron levels are low, your body can’t produce enough red blood cells, which leads to decreased oxygen-rich red blood cells to your vital organs.
The symptoms of anemia include fatigue, chest pain, headaches, light-headedness, and an irregular heartbeat. Since beets are high in iron, they can improve the production of red blood cells, thereby combating anemia.