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Health Benefits of Beets

Beetroots, commonly known as beets, are a popular root vegetable used in many cuisines around the world.

Beets are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, some of which have medicinal properties.

What’s more, they are delicious and easy to add to your diet.

This article lists 9 health benefits of beets

1. Many Nutrients in Few Calories

Beets boast an impressive nutritional profile.

They are low in calories, yet high in valuable vitamins and minerals. In fact, they contain a bit of almost all the vitamins and minerals that you need (1).

Here is an overview of the nutrients found in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked beetroot (1):

• Calories: 44

• Protein: 1.7 grams

• Fat: 0.2 grams

• Fiber: 2 grams

• Vitamin C: 6% of the RDI

• Folate: 20% of the RDI

• Vitamin B6: 3% of the RDI

• Magnesium: 6% of the RDI

• Potassium: 9% of the RDI

• Phosphorous: 4% of the RDI

• Manganese: 16% of the RDI

• Iron: 4% of the RDI

Beets also contain inorganic nitrates and pigments, both of which are plant compounds that have a number of health benefits.

SUMMARY:

Beets are loaded with vitamins and minerals and low in calories and fat. They also contain inorganic nitrates and pigments, both of which have a number of health benefits.

2. Help Keep Blood Pressure in Check

Heart disease, including heart attacks, heart failure and stroke, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

And high blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for the development of these conditions.

Studies have shown that beets can significantly lower blood pressure by up to 4–10 mmHg over a period of only a few hours

The effect appears to be greater for systolic blood pressure, or pressure when your heart contracts, rather than diastolic blood pressure, or pressure when your heart is relaxed. The effect may also be stronger for raw beets than cooked beets

These blood pressure-lowering effects are likely due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets. In your body, dietary nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels, causing blood pressure to drop

Blood nitrate levels remain elevated for about six hours after eating dietary nitrate. Therefore, beets only have a temporary effect on blood pressure, and regular consumption is required to experience long-term reductions in blood pressure (10

SUMMARY:

Beets contain a high concentration of nitrates, which have a blood pressure-lowering effect. This may lead to a reduced risk of heart attacks, heart failure

3. Can Improve Athletic Performance

Several studies suggest that dietary nitrates may enhance athletic performance.

For this reason, beets are often used by athletes.

Nitrates appear to affect physical performance by improving the efficiency of mitochondria, which are responsible for producing energy in your cells

In two studies including seven and eight men, consuming 17 ounces (500 ml) of beet juice daily for six days extended time to exhaustion during high-intensity exercise by 15–25%, which is a 1–2% improvement in overall performance

Eating beets may also improve cycling and athletic performance and increase oxygen use by up to 20%

One small study of nine competitive cyclists looked at the effect of 17 ounces (500 ml) of beetroot juice on cycling time trial performance over 2.5 and 10 miles (4 and 16.1 km).

Drinking beetroot juice improved performance by 2.8% over the 2.5-mile (4-km) time trial and 2.7% over the 10-mile (16.1-km) trial

It’s important to note that blood nitrate levels peak within 2–3 hours. Therefore, to maximize their potential, it’s best to consume beets 2–3 hours before training or competing

SUMMARY:

Eating beets may enhance athletic performance by improving oxygen use and time to exhaustion. To maximize their effects, beets should be consumed 2–3 hours prior to training or competing.

4. May Help Fight Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is associated with a number of diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, liver disease and cancer

Beets contain pigments called betalains, which may potentially possess a number of anti-inflammatory properties

However, most of the research in this area has been conducted in rats.

Beetroot juice and beetroot extract have been shown to reduce kidney inflammation in rats injected with toxic chemicals known to induce serious injury

One study in humans with osteoarthritis showed that betalain capsules made with beetroot extract reduced pain and discomfort associated with the condition

While these studies suggest that beets have an anti-inflammatory effect, human studies are needed to determine whether beets could be used to reduce inflammation.

SUMMARY:

Beets may have a number of anti-inflammatory effects. However, further research in humans is required to confirm this theory.

5. May Improve Digestive Health

Dietary fiber is an important component of a healthy diet.

It has been linked to many health benefits, including improved digestion.

One cup of beetroot contains 3.4 grams of fiber, making beets a good fiber source (1).

Fiber bypasses digestion and heads down to the colon, where it either feeds the friendly gut bacteria or adds bulk to stool.

This can promote digestive health, keep you regular and prevent digestive conditions like constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulitis (24

Moreover, fiber has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases including colon cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes

SUMMARY:

Beets are a good source of fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health, as well as reducing the risk of a number of chronic health conditions.

Source – HealthLine