8 health benefits of beets
Most people are either beet lovers or they are not. There is not much of a middle ground when it comes to beets. I confess I have been slow to the beet party, but I am gradually learning to enjoy their earthy taste and have come to appreciate how incredibly healthy beets are. Here are eight health benefits of beets:
Beets are rich in betacyanins, a compound that has been shown to fight cancer in laboratory mice. Lab studies in human cells also show anti-cancer activity on a wide variety of human tumors.
Lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow
Drinking beet juice has been shown to lower blood pressure by 2% after only one serving.
Supports mental health
Beets contain betaine which is a mood enhancer. Beets are rich in folate and folate deficiencies can trigger depression and insomnia. Additionally, beets contain tryptophan, a substance that produces feeling of well-being.
Beets contain nitrates which converts to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide has been shown to increase tolerance to high-intensity exercise as well as lower oxygen cost of lower-intensity exercise. Cyclists have been shown to increase their endurance by 20% after drinking beet juice and professional divers have increased the amount of time they can hold their breath by 11%.
Beets contain folate and betaine, two compounds that lower blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound. Beet greens stimulate the production of white blood cells and antibodies.
Purifies blood and liver
Beets are rich in betalin which helps your body detoxify and purify your blood and liver.
Beets are naturally sweet, yet very low in calories.
Ancient Romans used beets as aphrodisiacs, and probably with good reason. Beets increase blood flow to the genitals (much like Viagra) and support the production of human sex hormones.
How to eat beets
Eat the root and the leaves
Beet leaves are every bit as healthy as the root. Beet leaves contain different nutrients and provide different health benefits than their roots. So get more for your money and eat the leaves and the roots.
Raw beets are even better for you
Enjoy your borscht and roasted beets, but also eat them raw. Finely grated beets are a beautiful and nutritious addition to fresh salads. Beet juice can be drunk by itself or added to other vegetable smoothies.