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Beets: 6 Great Health Benefits

woman holding beets
June 15, 2016 (Updated: August 4, 2021)
Lily Moran

When Britain restricted access to cane sugar, Napoleon had an easy fallback.

He made beets the primary source of sugar for his troops.

Beets are a tremendous source of nutrition—not just healthy, natural sugar, but plenty more as well.

Today, let’s take a look at the biggest reasons beets should be a part of your diet.

Nitrate Power

Beets are extremely high in nitrates. And that has a number of wonderful benefits.

When you eat natural nitrates, your body turns them into nitric oxide.

And nitric oxide is great for your cardiovascular system. It relaxes and dilates your blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. In fact, in studies, a single glass of beet juice reduced blood pressure up to 2% within an hour.

That may not sound like a lot, but it’s an extraordinary result from simply eating (or drinking) a vegetable.

It also helps your body turn oxygen into energy. Beets boost the efficiency of your mitochondria—the energy-producing powerhouses in your cells.

That’s why beets are a common staple for serious athletes. The nitrates in beets make for lower oxygen costs during a low-intensity workout, and higher tolerance to pain during high-intensity exercise.

Not only that, the increase in cellular efficiency gives your brain a boost as well. Beets are a true brain food.

Fighting Both Inflammation and Cancer

Beets are a great source of phytonutrients called betalains.

Betalains are anti-inflammatory compounds that have shown anti-cancer benefits as well. They help the body heal itself more efficiently, and have even been shown to interfere with multi-tumor formation in animals.

The Original Aphrodisiac

For hundreds of years, beets have been an assistant in the world of love.

As mentioned above, beets reduce blood pressure, and they also increase blood flow. That’s good for the mechanics of love—Viagra works in a similar way.

But beets are also rich in boron, and boron stimulates a number of different sex hormones. So if you’re looking for a romantic evening, a beet salad is a perfect appetizer.

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A Natural Detox

Beets have a number of detoxifying agents—most especially the phytonutrients that also reduce inflammation and fight cancer.

In fact, beets are often used during detox programs, as a safe, effective way to rid the body of toxins and get back to a neutral state.

Chock Full of Vitamins

Beets deliver such a wide array of vitamins, I only have time to cover the biggest right now.

Beets are very high in folate. Folate also fights heart disease and cancer.

In addition, it’s crucial in helping babies form in pregnant mothers. That’s why—especially early in pregnancy—expectant moms are told to eat their beets.

Beets are full of Vitamin C, a vitamin so important you don’t need me to tell you all the benefits. Suffice to say, if you feel a cold coming on, a cup of borscht (minus the sour cream) is better for you than chicken noodle soup.

Beets are also full of potassium and manganese. Potassium helps your body’s metabolism, it increases muscle strength and helps with muscle formation, it fights heart and kidney disorders, and it lowers blood pressure, relieves the symptoms of strokes, and reduces stress and anxiety.

Manganese also helps your body’s metabolism, and also promotes bone growth, strength, and health.

Don’t Forget The Top

While we usually think of beet roots, the greens that grow above ground are extremely healthy as well.

Indeed—humans were eating beet greens well before we started eating the red roots.

Beet greens deliver more iron than spinach, more vitamin C than beet roots, and plenty of Vitamin A, copper, potassium, and magnesium.

But beet greens really shine when it comes to vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a pivotal role in the blood clotting process, but also delivers a number of other benefits to the cardiovascular system, and helps build strong bones.

Take it all together, and if you could choose only one food to take with you to a desert island, you could do a lot worse than beets.

They deliver a huge host of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to run its most valuable systems, while containing very few calories, and cleaning out any toxins you’ve taken in through the environment.

If you aren’t eating beets regularly, it’s time to add them to your rotation. Especially when you include the greens, it’s hard to find a better, more complete source of nutrition out there.

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