One of the many vegetables that gets used in different forms of foods without being eaten on their own very often, beets are among those foods that aren’t really popular with children. However, it seems that the older you get, the more you tend to eat them. That’s certainly not a bad thing, and adding beets to foods like salads can be a great way of getting a lot of the nutrients that your body needs.
There are plenty of ways to prepare beets, and all parts of the beetroot are edible. Obviously, to get the best nutrition from beets, you would want to steam them or boil them without adding any unhealthy items such as butter. If you can do that, you will be getting a lot of great health benefits from your diet. Let’s take a closer look at what those benefits are when you eat more beets.
Nutrition of Beets
Beets can be very versatile as they contain a lot of different vitamins and minerals in just one serving (which is one cup). Beets contain 15 percent of your daily recommendation of fiber, with some protein even thrown in. In terms of vitamins, beets contain nearly 40 percent of your recommended folate intake, while also being a strong source of vitamin C (11 percent) and vitamin B6 (five percent). There are other vitamins with smaller amounts, as well, including thiamin, riboflavin and niacin.
As for the minerals, beets contain more than 20 percent of your manganese suggested intake, and 13 percent of potassium. Proving that they are very well varied, beets also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and more. That’s a lot of good stuff for just one cup, and that serving will also contain some helpful essential fatty acids.
Beets are going to be a good part of any diet, but especially if you are looking to increase your energy and perhaps lose a little weight in the process. Beets (and beet juice) have been backed up by studies as being able to increase performance while exercising due to the high nitrate content in beet juice. Those that participated were able to last longer while exercising by nearly 20 percent.
The results were compared to sports drinks that promote being able to make you last longer, so it was a surprise that beet juice was actually able to top sports drinks. Boosting your energy level will also help out your metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day. Since beets don’t contain many calories per cup, it is a fine food for those that want to exercise more and burn fat.
Those nitrates in beets will not only help your exercise performance, but increase the efficiency of your blood flow overall. There have been studies that show drinking beet juice (and just one glass per day) was able to significantly lower blood pressure. Another study showed that the effects of drinking beet juice have an almost instantaneous positive effect on those with high blood pressure.
Overall, this will be great for your heart health and reduce your chances of a heart attack or stroke. The fiber content in beets will add to that by reducing your LDL (bad) levels of cholesterol while also increasing the HDL (good) and triglyceride levels. Iron, copper and the other minerals will also have a positive effect on your blood flow, which many people take for granted.
If you are one of those people that is looking to cleanse out your system and detoxify the ever important liver, you should be drinking a glass of beet juice more frequently. Beets contain amino acids that can strip away fat from the liver and improve the liver’s function overall. If there is a buildup of fat in the liver, it can cause inflammation and increased cholesterol, possibly leading to liver cancer.
Liver cancer isn’t the only type of cancer that beets can help you prevent, as studies show that there are several other types (such as lung and colon cancer) that beets fight. Beets contain betacyanins, which helps to combat these particular cancer cells. Even those that already have tumors can even stop from growing by adding more beet juice to your diet.
Cleanse the System
Improving your liver function is important, but you also need to increase your digestive and urinary health to avoid serious diseases down the road and inflammation. Beets of course contain fiber, which can help you become more regular in both of those regards.
Since beets contain so many minerals, it may lead to some odd discoloration that you’ll see for a couple of days, but that’s normal and will improve quickly. Beets will help you to remove many of the toxins in these systems, vastly improving your kidney and digestive health. Not many people want to reference these problems until they pop up, so it’s best to avoid them overall.
Beets contain a healthy amount of vitamin A and vitamin C, which will help both your vision and respiratory health. Fighting off infections in your respiratory system stops you from getting those annoying colds or flus throughout the year. These vitamins increase your eye health by working as an antioxidant, as well. This means that you will be less likely to suffer from age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Summing it Up
Beets are one of those foods that just looks like it would be very healthy for you, and doesn’t have many drawbacks, thankfully. There are only a couple of small problems that could happen if you eat almost an impossible amount of them. This includes the increased chance of kidney stones due to the minerals, but you would have to eat more beets than you could probably handle for that to become a problem.
As long as you aren’t adding a lot of unhealthy items to the beets you are eating, you should see the positive health benefits. Even the green part of the beet is edible, and that’s actually where much of the nutrition comes from. Don’t be afraid to eat that part, and good things will start happening for your body. They might not be the most favorite vegetable in the world, but they are certainly among the best in terms of healthiness.