Do you know the health benefits of beets? They belong to the same family as chard and spinach, and both the leaves and roots of beets can be eaten. It should be noted though that the leaves have a bitter taste. In contrast to this, the root is sweet. Beets are available all year round, but they are at their sweetest and most tender during their peak season.
The peak season for beets in the US is early spring or early summer, depending on where in the country you are, as they are a cool weather harvest crop. There are white, yellow, and red varieties of beets but only the red variety has the compound betacyanin. This compound is effective in preventing cancer.
What else do beets contain?
A 100g serving of raw, non-pickled, beets contains:
- 36 kcals/154KJ
- 7g protein
- 1g fat
- 6g carbs
- 5g fiber
- 380mg potassium
- 150mcg folate
That’s quite impressive for 100g, and an excellent salad addition. What are the health benefits of beets? Let’s take a look.
Health benefits of beets
Beets have several health benefits, let’s take a look at the larger ones.
Beets may have cancer-fighting properties
The pigment that gives beets, or beetroot, its rich, purple-crimson color is called betacyanin. This compound is a powerful agent that is thought to help suppress the development and growth of certain types of cancer. One such cancer that beets help to ward off is bladder cancer.
Another of the health benefits of beets is that they may lower blood pressure
Beets are naturally rich in particular compounds called nitrates. Just another of the health benefits of beets -These nitrates make beets heart-friendly. Nitrates help to improve blood flow by relaxing blood vessels. In turn, helps reduce arterial stiffness and promotes dilation. This helps lower blood pressure. A reduction in blood pressure is beneficial for the avoidance of heart disease and stroke. Studies suggest that nitrate-rich foods, like beetroot, could also increase heart attack survival rates
Another of the health benefits of beets: They could improve energy levels and exercise performance
Paralympic gold medalist David Weir helped to boost the popularity of beetroot juice. He once announced that a shot of the juice was the secret to his success.
Studies support this, too. Some findings say when athletes drink beetroot juice to their training regime, it could increase endurance.
The juice could also aid in recovery. Another of the surprising health benefits of beets is because when muscles are resting, the nitrates found in beetroot help to bring more oxygen to the muscles. When this happens, muscles are helped to recover. For everyone else, including the vegetable in our diets may be the natural energy boost we need.
Beetroot could improve digestive health
Beets are one of the richest sources of glutamine. This is an amino acid that is essential to the health and maintenance of the gut. Beets are also rich in fiber, which as well as supporting bowel function helps support the environment of the gut and the beneficial bacteria that reside there.
Beets may be anti-inflammatory
Another of the health benefits of beets: Red beetroots are one of the 10 most powerful antioxidant vegetables. The betalain compounds, responsible for the red color, have been shown to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. This means they help protect cells from damage and may be helpful in the fight against age-related conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Are beets safe for everyone?
For a small number of people, eating beets could induce beeturia; a red or pink color in the urine or stool. This may sound frightening but it is totally harmless! Beet greens and the roots contain high levels of a natural compound called oxalate. People with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid over-consuming high oxalate foods, like beetroot.