5 Reasons to Start Eating Beets Today
You might have noticed beet juice seems to be in all of these healthy vegetable juice blends.
There’s good reason for that. Beets are an absolute powerhouse in the vegetable world.
In all reality, there’s not much that beats beets. I had to, and I’m not even sorry.
But why are beets nearly unbeatable?
To answer that question, I’m going to go show you how beets offer you a few things many other vegetables don’t.
The Incredible Reasons To Add Beets To Your Diet
Beets Contain Nitrates: Now, if that sounds like a bad thing, let me assure you it isn’t.
Naturally occurring nitrates are essential for increasing nitric oxide in your blood stream. Unlike synthetic nitrates added for preservation purposes, these nutrients have far-reaching health properties.
When nitric oxide is abundant in your blood, it helps relax your blood vessels. Once relaxed, your blood vessels will then dilate, and this can help make blood flow through your veins with greater ease.
The end result?
Decreased blood pressure.
Which, in many cases (not all), is phenomenal for good health.
Beets are an absolutely unbeatable (there I go again) food that are beneficial in helping to lower blood pressure.
In fact, one study was even able to show it only took a few hours before systolic pressure was reduced by 4-5 points (after consuming beet juice) which is a pretty profound result to measure.
Another added benefit to those naturally occurring nitrates?
They’ve been shown to increase endurance in exercise.
A study showed when people drank beet juice before a workout they were able to workout a full 16% longer than those who didn’t.
The researchers theorized beet juice could increase resistance to the negative effects of endurance exercise and it appeared they were proven correct.
Beets Contain Betaine: Betaine’s a unique nutrient…
Studies have shown betaine is helpful at protecting your body at the cellular level. It can help fight inflammation in the body through a special combination of proteins and enzymes that are influential in protecting your cells from environmental stress.
The World’s Healthiest Foods writes this about betaine:
[Betaine’s]… presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”
Beets Are Rich in Phytonutrients: Phytonutrients as you may have heard are the chemicals inside of plants that give them their rich color.
When it comes to beets, their deep purplish-red is caused by a group of phytonutrients known as betalains and Luteolins.
These phytonutrients have some incredible effects on health.
Some research has even shown they’re able to fortify the immune system.
As Dr. Mercola observes.
“Research has shown that beet-root extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.”
Beets are High in Essential Nutrients: This one might be more obvious.
Beets are high in nutrients like dietary fiber, vitamin c, folate, manganese and potassium.
These nutrients have far reaching health benefits.
For instance, manganese and vitamin C are powerful antioxidants that fight off the damage of free radical formation in the body.
Folate is essential for proper function in the methyl cycle (see my article on methylation) which is one of the most important processes regulating Health As It Ought To Be.
And fiber is good for heart and digestive health.
Beets Contain Healthy Enzymes: The enzymes contained in beets are incredibly powerful for assisting in Phase 2 detoxification.
In particular, there’s an enzyme called glutathione-S-transferase family which helps the body’s detox antioxidant (glutathione) neutralize and excrete dangerous toxins. Those same phytonutrients mentioned above help play a role in detoxification. As The World’s Healthiest Foods notes:
“The betalains found in beet have been shown to trigger GST activity, and to aid in the elimination of toxins that require glutathione for excretion. If you are a person who thinks about exposure to toxins and wants to give your body as much detox support as possible, beets are a food that belongs in your diet.”
The Best Way to Enjoy Beets?
Now, that’s not an exhaustive list of what’s inside beets, but I think it’s a pretty comprehensive nonetheless
Of course, in all of this you might be wondering, “Do I drink beet juice, or do I eat beets?”
Well, the answer is a bit ambiguous.
The truth is that high heat might make eating beets easier, but that high heat can also damage the sensitive phytonutrients and enzymes they contain.
This means juicing is a great way to enjoy beets.
However, it’s not the end all be all, and if you want to eat the whole food then steaming them is the way to go.
To do this, cut the beets into small cubes and then steam for 15 minutes and you should be set.
The biggest point I need to make?
Eat beets. Eat a lot of them
Just don’t let the stains they leave behind on your fingers be the reason you ignore them altogether (wear gloves if you’re really worried about staining), and remember beets are unbeatable!