Written by Randy Fritz from Real Food Life.com
A single serving of beets can boost your energy and lower your blood pressure. Eating beets long-term can help you fight cancer, reduce arthritic pain, and lose weight, as well as assisting in a number of other health areas.
Many people don’t like beets or consider it only a special occasion dish, but we think this powerfood should be on your plate every day.
8 Healthy Reasons to Eat Beets:
1. Weight Loss
Beets taste sweet, but a cup of cooked beet contains only 60 calories and is full of fiber. This is a perfect food for weight management.
The sugars in beets are smart carbs, since they come in a natural whole food form. Unlike white sugar, the beet calories come with a lot of nutrients and phytochemicals.
2. Brain and Energy Boost
Beets are high in natural nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is known to expand the walls of blood vessels so you can enjoy more oxygen, more nutrients, and more energy.
Studies have shown nitric oxide to increase the efficiency of the mitochondria (your energy powerhouses). The results of these studies were impressive.
- A single small serving (70 ml) of beetroot juice reduced resting blood pressure by 2%.
- A single small serving increased the length of time professional divers could hold their breath by 11%.
- Cyclists who drank a single larger serving (500 ml) of beetroot juice were able to ride up to 20% longer.
3. Nature’s Viagra
One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac. Many plants have been considered an aphrodisiac by some culture at some time, but in this case it may be more than just wishful thinking.
As noted above, beets can increase blood flow due to their nitrates. Increased blood flow to the genital areas is one of the mechanisms Viagra and other pharmaceuticals create their effects. Beets also contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
4. Super Antioxidant for a Long, Healthy, Pain-Free Life
Antioxidants help to reverse the daily accumulated wear and tear on the body, known as aging. Beets are a very good source of commonly known antioxidants like vitamin C and manganese, but it is their lesser-known antioxidants which give them their true value.
The blood-red color of beets comes from a powerful group of antioxidants called betalains. There are hundreds of studies on the positive health benefits of betalains. A short summary of the results shows that they help in the areas of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and inflammation. If you go to Google Scholar and type in ‘betalains,’ you will see 3790 scholarly references on this subject.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
The inflammatory response is a natural function of the body which saves our lives when it responds to the acute stresses in our lives, like bacterial infection and injury. Due to the constant stress in our modern lives, however, this inflammation becomes chronic. It is as though our body is constantly in a battle. Inflammation has been linked to a number of symptoms and diseases including:
- Susceptibility to infections
- Chronic pain
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
The blood-red betalains in beets have been shown to reduce chronic inflammation.
6. Cancer Prevention
Preliminary tests suggest that beetroot ingestion can be one of the useful means to prevent lung and skin cancer. Other studies have shown that beet juice inhibits the formation of cancer-causing compounds called nitrosamines.
7. Cell Detoxification and Cleansing
The antioxidants in beets have been shown to support what is called phase 2 cleansing. In phase 2 cleansing, unwanted toxic substances are chemically combined with a small nutrient group. This combination neutralizes the toxin and makes them sufficiently water-soluble so they can be excreted through the urine.
This is therefore deep cleansing on a cellular level, that may have long term health benefits.
8. Improved Mental Health
The betalains in beets has been used in certain treatments of depression. It also contains tryptophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being, similar to chocolate. Enjoy!
Beet greens are one of the many high-nutrient foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates. Individuals with known or suspected kidney or gallbladder problems are recommended not to eat these high-oxalate foods. This is a much-disputed subject, however. (See Oxalic Acid Controversy.)
Some individuals are concerned when their urine and stool turn red after consumption. This condition, called beeturia, is not considered harmful and occurs in 10-14% of the population. Individuals with iron metabolism problems are more likely to experience this situation.
- Raw beetroot juice is one of the most powerful ways you can consume it. It is rather intense by itself, though, and tastes much better mixed with other vegetables. We have thus included a great juice mixture recipe below.
- The nutrients in beets are more susceptible to degradation from long cooking times than other foods, so if you are cooking it, the ideal time would be 15 minutes steaming, maximum.
- Beetroot tops and stems contain much of the same benefits as the root, but with the additional nutrients and phytochemicals associated with green leaf vegetables.
“For pink pee, eat a beet! Children are notorious for refusing to eat their fruits and vegetables, but what child can resist the allure of orange, pink, and even green pee?” — Pee Funny by Benjamin Picard
Borscht with a Difference: A favorite way to consume these red powerhouses, with photo directions.
Perfect Vegetable Juice: This delicious recipe contains four other powerfoods, and thus multiplies your health benefit many times.
Alkaline Steamed Vegetables: The most nutritious and tasty way to eat cooked beets.