What do you like about beets? Maybe it’s your sweet crunch in a salad or maybe it’s the earthy juice. Or maybe it’s the vibrant color that they add to any dish. Or maybe it’s all of the above! But he’s not the only one. The ancient Greeks and Romans also loved the almighty beet. This root vegetable even doubled as an offering to the god Apollo in Delphi. And with its arsenal of amazing nutrients, it was certainly a worthy offering! Beet has minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus and zinc. They also contain vitamins A, B, C and folate.
In addition, they are a rich source of nitrates and phytochemical compounds such as carotenoids, ascorbic acid, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Beets also contain highly beneficial compounds known as betalains. These substances, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, are responsible for the beautiful beet color. Let’s take a look at what you can get from this vegetable suitable for the gods!
1. Increase Antioxidants:
Beets can protect you from the devastating effects of free radicals. These components are generated in our body through normal metabolic processes. They are also produced by lifestyle, diet and stress factors. Free radicals can also be created when you are exposed to environmental pollutants such as industrial chemicals and cigarette smoke. Not surprisingly, they play an important role in the cause of conditions such as cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Beet is a rich source of antioxidant compounds such as rutin, caffeic acid, epicatechin and betalins. These antioxidants have the ability to combat the unpleasant effects of free radicals. As a result, oxidative damage is prevented, making beets one of the best foods to eat for disease prevention.
2. Reduce Blood Pressure:
Beet can be a powerful ally when it comes to controlling blood pressure. In one study, healthy participants who consumed 500 ml of beet juice showed a considerable reduction in blood pressure levels three hours later. This is probably due to the fact that beet nitrate converts to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps dilate blood vessels. The result? A drop in your blood pressure.
3. Destroy Cancer Cells:
Animal studies have found that beets can suppress the development of lung and skin tumors. Research has also shown that beet extracts can destroy human cancer cells of the prostate and breast. It is believed that betanin, an important compound found in beets, plays an important role in the fight against cancer cells. More research will help reaffirm this and also show how beet extracts can be used effectively. Until then, it certainly would not hurt to include beets in a diet rich in antioxidants.
4. Improves Athletic Performance:
Did you know that most professional athletes drink a secret juice that improves their performance? One study looked at competitive cyclists who did long distance cycling. After drinking 500 ml of beet juice, the cyclists were able to improve their performance by almost 3%.
“It is speculated that the high nitrate content in beet juice can increase the amount of energy generated through exercise, even while using the same amount of oxygen”.
You may not be a competitive athlete, but a little beet juice can still boost your workout. Drink it all!
5. Tune Your Brain:
A diet rich in nitrates can reduce cognitive impairment by increasing blood flow to the brain, as a study in older subjects showed. This experiment evaluated a two-week beet juice supplement in people with type 2 diabetes (who often show a faster rate of cognitive decline with age). The study noted an improvement in reaction time among participants, suggesting that nitrate-rich diets could be the key to staying active.
6. Protect the Liver:
The liver plays a critical role in the filtration of toxins from our body. However, if it is overloaded with toxins (for example, due to certain medications), it could be damaged. A little beet can also protect the liver. In an animal study, beet extracts helped the liver function normally despite being exposed to a highly toxic chemical. When treated with beet extracts, the liver also did not exhibit excessive fat accumulation or signs of cell death – both indicators of the beet’s protective power!
The Power of Beets: What is the Recommendation?
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends consuming between 5.5 and 6 cups of red vegetables each week. And now that you know all about the benefits of beets, these root vegetables should certainly have a place on your plate. You can also make beet vegetables a part of your diet. With high levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus and zinc, all of which will bring many benefits. If you are hesitating between cooking beets or eating them raw or juicy, here is information that could help you decide. When beets are cooked, the nitrate content decreases. In addition, they also lose more than 25 percent of their folate.
When Not to Eat?
Now, some people may notice that urine or feces turn red or pink when they eat beets. This is a harmless condition known as bacteria and should not cause any concern. But if you are prone to calcium-induced kidney stones, you may want to avoid these vibrant tubers. Beet has a high oxalate content, which can prevent the body from absorbing calcium, which leads to stone formation. There is also some evidence that restricting beets in your diet may improve symptoms if you have irritable bowel syndrome.