Posted on Jan 18, 2024, 5 p.m.
By now most people are aware that what you eat can influence your body, this includes digestive, cognitive, and cardiovascular health. While there are many dietray choices that can benefit your overall well-being there are also many that can be detrimental to it. Diet is an important part of your life, it can be unhealthy or healthy, and it all comes down to the choices that you make.
Several healthful choices can help manage health and well-being, in this article, the focus is on one that is most often overlooked: beets. This crimson-colored veggie carries so many benefits it may make you turn beet red from the embarrassment of overlooking them.
According to the American Heart Association, this root vegetable should be making appearances on plates more often. Beets help to increase oxygen uptake, lengthening how long it takes you to become fatigued allowing you to stay active for longer. Beets are also a rich source of anti-aging antioxidant compounds that help to repair DNA, maintain good cell health, and have anti-inflammatory properties that work to help reduce the risk of numerous chronic diseases.
Beets are low in calories and fat while being high in fiber and other healthy phytonutrient plant-based compounds. Just 3.5 ounce/100 grams of boiled beets contain 44 calories, 1.7 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 20% of the recommended daily value (RDV) for folate, 14% of the RDV for manganese, 8% of the RDV for copper, 7% of the RDV for potassium, 6% of the RDV for magnesium, 4% of the RDV for vitamin C, 4% of the RDV for vitamin B6, and 4% of the DRV for iron.
Ancient Romans used beets to help treat constipation, improve circulation, fight fevers, and even believed beets to be an aphrodisiac to boost sexual performance. Fast forward to the modern day and we have been able to reveal what compounds within beets give it those “healing powers”.
Beets are gaining popularity as a holistic natural approach in helping to manage cardiovascular disease and cancer. Some studies suggest that nitrates abundant in beets help to improve cardiovascular health, and some suggest that beetroot juice supplementation may help to lower blood pressure and increase blood flow. Research has shown that compounds within beets like betaine, ferulic acid, rutin, kaempferol, and caffeic acid contain cancer-fighting properties that may help lower the risk of developing certain cancers.
Beets contain betalain compounds that possess a variety of anti-inflammatory properties that could benefit several aspects of health like chronic inflammation that is associated with conditions such as heart disease, cancer, liver disease, osteoarthritis, and obesity.
Beets are a good source of fiber that may help to improve digestive health. The fiber content bypasses digestion and travels to the colon where it teams up with healthful gut bacteria and bulks up stools. This process can help to promote optimal digestive health, keep you regular, and prevent digestive conditions. Fiber has also been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer.
The nitrate content in beets helps to support brain health/function by promoting the dilation of blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the brain, particularly to areas associated with higher levels of thinking, supporting cognitive health, and decreasing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders. The nitrates may also help to improve the body’s nitric oxide production which is needed to open the blood vessels that are required for getting and maintaining an erection, which may be beneficial for boosting sexual health.
Although most studies are based on drinking beetroot juice (some research suggests that raw beets may exert a stronger effect), beets can also be beneficial when consumed raw, boiled, baked, or pickled. Beets are fairly versatile, you could roast beets in olive oil with some herbs and spices, blend them into a smoothie or a dip with yogurt and garlic, or toss some into a coleslaw. Beets can also be a great addition to soup or stew. Why not try swapping some beets for a little bit of other root vegetables when making homemade chips for something new?
Beets are a nutritious health-promoting option that may help to support your brain, heart, and digestive system while fighting inflammation, and possibly slowing the growth of cancer cells. Keep in mind that eating a small amount of beets every day is unlikely to cause harm, but a high intake could cause low blood pressure. Meaning that it is best to follow a balanced varied diet, and enjoy eating the rainbow of colors, letting beets make an appearance in moderation. Stopping “beeting” around the bush and give beets a try to reap the benefits.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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T.W. at WHN