Everyone and their mother knows that beets are good for you, but does everyone know why?
Packed with phytonutrients (“phyto” being the Greek word for plants), vitamins and minerals, beets provide support to many systems of the body from digestion to energy levels.
POWER UP FITNESS: Bodies convert the nitrates found in beets to nitric oxide, which helps improve oxygenation levels in the blood and overall circulation. Sports nutritionist Barbara Lewis explains that this means,“You’re able to use oxygen more efficiently, so the idea is athletes have more power, are able to run faster, and are able to move more efficiently.”
CLEANSING: The antioxidants and fiber act like natural cleansing agents, helping with the detoxification of toxins and heavy metals in the blood and giving the digestive tract a gentle flush to support a healthy elimination process. “Pectin, which is a fiber found in beets, can also help clean the toxins that have been removed from the liver, allowing them to be flushed out of the system instead of reabsorbed by the body.”
INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE: The red color in beets is an indicator of betalains (antioxidants) present. “The average person’s diet is very high in inflammatory properties from processed foods, high amounts of sugar, and low amounts of nutrients; so consuming whole foods like beets is an excellent way to reduce the immune system from triggering ongoing harmful levels of high inflammation.” –Dr. Axe
IMMUNITY BOOST: Healthy blood pressure, stamina, and detox are just a few of the immune boosting benefits of beets. According to a study done on beetroot juice, “A single serving of 500 milliliters of beetroot juice has been shown to reduce blood pressure by 10.4/8 millimeters.”
AGING GRACEFULLY: Beets may stimulate cell production, which can protect your skin from premature aging and wrinkles. It’ll also keep your brain young by preserving it with nitrates to improve blood flow. “Drinking beetroot juice before working out makes older adults’ brains perform more efficiently, a new study by Wake Forest University has found. ‘It resembles more of a brain of a younger adult than it does an older adult,” said W. Jack Rejeski, the co-author on the study.‘”
Although this superfood is a hearty root vegetable, it’s actually extremely sensitive – to temperature. The higher the heat or longer the cook time, the more betalains, vitamin C, fiber and other nutritional benefits decrease in value. When cooked, beets lose more than 25% of their folate, one the B vitamins. This is why juiced beets are the best way to consume the nutrient-dense vegetable.
If you do begin incorporating beets into your daily diet, beware that you might notice a change of color in your urine. Beeturia can be a little alarming, but it’s not harmful. In fact, about 10-15% adults experience the red discoloration in the U.S.