Hailed as a superfood, the humble beet (known as beetroot in the UK) is a little treasure trove of health-affirming goodness. In this article, I am going to explore some of the most celebrated, research-based health benefits of beets.
It seems that a lot of people never venture further than pickled beets – not realising that there is a whole culinary beet world out there waiting to be discovered.
Beets (Beta vulgaris) come in different colours (like white and orange), although they are most commonly known for their deep reddish/purple colour. The unique, earthy tap roots are the part that people most often eat, yet it is useful to know that the green leaves are totally edible and filled with beneficial nutrients too.
Health benefits of beets
1. Beet juice helps to lower blood pressure
Studies suggest that people with high blood pressure (hypertension) show a significant decrease in blood pressure after drinking beet juice. Experts report that the nitrates present in beets may cause blood pressure to decrease. The nitrates convert to nitric oxide – which increases oxygen in the blood – and subsequently helps to relax the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow with greater ease.
2. Beets are rich in important nutrients
Beetroot is high in:
- Folate (folic acid/B9) – essential for DNA synthesis and repair
- Manganese – for skin & bone health; blood sugar management; protection against free-radicals
- Potassium – helpful for blood pressure regulation and kidney health
- Vitamin C – powerful anti-oxidant; helpful for wound healing; blood sugar regulator
- Beetroot also has good levels of zinc, iron and copper for maintaining general healthy body function.
3. Beets support healthy liver function
Betanin helps to protect the liver by preventing the build-up of fatty deposits, encouraging bile stimulation and acting as a powerful antioxidant. It is said to help the liver get rid of toxins, supporting its natural function as an organ of detoxification, and helping to eliminate harmful substances from the body. Another excellent health benefit of beets.
4. Beets help energy levels and physical endurance
A fascinating study on the effect of nitrate from beetroot juice found that people who drank the juice showed a significant increase in physical tolerance and stamina.
5. Beets have excellent antioxidant properties
Beetroot is high in glutathione, polyphenols and betalains, which all have excellent antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants play a key role in the prevention of most chronic diseases. This is due to their ability to counteract the effects of free radical damage on human tissue. They neutralise the negative effect of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a factor in many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer, and, asthma.