Beetroots, also known as beets, are a popular root vegetable used in many cuisines around the world. Beets are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, some of which have medicinal properties. Moreover, they are delicious and easy to add to your diet. Here are some of the most important health benefits of beets, all supported by science.
1. Lower Your Blood Pressure
Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in just a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points. The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure as a result.
2. Can Improve Athletic Performance
Several studies have found that dietary nitrates may enhance athletic performance. For this reason, beets are often used by professional athletes. Nitrates appear to affect physical performance by improving the efficiency of mitochondria, which are responsible for producing energy in your cells. In two studies including seven and eight men, consuming 17 ounces (500 ml) of beet juice daily for six days extended time to exhaustion during high-intensity exercise by 15–25%, which is an incredible 1–2% improvement in overall performance.
3. Promote Liver Detoxification
Betaines in beets stimulate the functions of the liver and keep it healthy. Pectin, a water-soluble fiber in these root vegetables, helps flush out toxins from the liver. Also, beets help heal liver diseases. They are one of the super foods that have the ability to reverse fatty liver.
4. May Help Fight Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is associated with a number of diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, liver disease and cancer. Beets contain pigments called betalains, which may potentially possess a number of anti-inflammatory properties. But, most of the research in this area has been conducted in rats. Beetroot juice and beetroot extract have been shown to reduce kidney inflammation in rats injected with toxic chemicals known to induce serious injury. One study in humans with osteoarthritis showed that betalain capsules made with beetroot extract reduced pain and discomfort associated with the condition.
5. Prevents Osteoporosis
Your body requires a mineral known as silica to absorb calcium, which you can effectively gain from beetroot since it is packed with the mineral. Consuming calcium daily keeps your teeth and bones stronger. Furthermore, experts recommend a glass of fresh beetroot juice to prevent health problems such as brittle bone and osteoporosis.
6. Beets Boost Endurance
British researchers conducted studies that found athletes who drank beet juice mixed with a little apple juice before working out reported much better endurance and a lower resting blood pressure than those who did not. The performance boost is thought to be from the nitrates found in the root. Additional research suggests that a beet-apple juice mixture could make certain activities less exhausting for seniors.
7. Beets are Loaded with Antioxidants
Beets get their gorgeous, red-violet color from their high levels of antioxidants, or molecules that help prevent certain diseases by fighting off the damage inflicted by free radicals. One particularly potent antioxidant, however, is betalain. It scored higher marks in fighting off free radicals than vitamin C and certain anthocyanins.
Beets provide some impressive health benefits. Not to mention, they are low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate and vitamin C. Also, beets contain nitrates and pigments that may help lower blood pressure and improve athletic performance. Lastly, beets are delicious and versatile, fitting well into a healthy and balanced diet.