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Seven advantages of beets for health

Seven advantages of beets

Beets can be added to salads, consumed in green juice, or made into hummus. You can do more with these root veggies than just roast them, and you’ll want to get inventive with them once you learn about all the health benefits they have to offer.

There are several benefits to including beets in your diet, according to Austin, Texas-based RDN Jenna Volpe. “They can help lower blood pressure, improve oxygen, and provide a hearty dose of antioxidants,” she says.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) claims that raw beets are nutrient-dense. They include significant amounts of copper, manganese, folate, and fiber. In addition, beets are surprisingly high in protein and naturally low in fat and cholesterol.

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Although beets are available throughout the year in the United States, the USDA states that the ideal times to eat them are during the summer, fall, and winter seasons. By purchasing frozen or canned beets, you may always have them on hand; just be careful of the additional salt and sugar. You’ll never run out of ideas for using beets because there are so many different types, storage options, and preparation options. The following seven health advantages will have you rushing to the supermarket or farmers market, which is a good thing.

1. Beetroot Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

According to Samantha Cassetty, RD, a private practitioner in New York City, beets have the remarkable capacity to enlarge blood vessels and improve blood flow, which lowers blood pressure. She points out that high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart attack and stroke, two of the leading causes of mortality.

Beets contain nitrates, which have been shown to lower blood pressure and dramatically cut the risk of cardiovascular events, according to a review published in the December 2018 issue of Biomolecules. Beets and other fruits and vegetables naturally contain nitrates, but these substances are also occasionally added to meats and cheeses as food additives. While the majority of the nitrates in the average diet come from plant-based foods and are generally considered to be safe, new study published in March 2020 in the journal Antioxidants suggests that nitrates from food additives may be linked to specific types of cancer.

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2. Beets Are a Good Source of Gut-Friendly Fiber

Dietary fiber is a crucial yet sometimes disregarded indicator of gut and general health. According to Harvard Health Publications, the average American consumes 10 to 15 grams (g) of fiber per day, which is far less than the 21 to 38 g per day that is advised.

According to Cassetty, “beets support a healthy gut microbiota” — the population of bacteria in your stomach that aids in controlling inflammation, immunological response, mood, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Dietary fiber can significantly affect the variety and richness of the gut microbiome, which is one of the most complex ecosystems in the human body. According to a review published in May 2021 in Nutrients, increasing your fiber intake enables gut bacteria to increase their number in the gut.

According to the USDA, a cup of beets has roughly 3.8 g of fiber. To get more probiotics and healthy gut bacteria, try fermented beets. According to the Cleveland Clinic, fermented foods like pickled beets increase the variety of intestinal bacteria in your body, promoting digestion and gut health.

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3. Beets May Boost Endurance and Athletic Performance

Before your next workout, you might wish to substitute beetroot juice for your usual sports drink. An analysis published in May 2021 in Frontiers in Nutrition found that nitrate supplementation through beetroot juice can improve resistance training efficiency and workout intensity.

According to Cassetty, nitrates in beetroot juice stimulate blood flow and let more oxygen reach your muscles, which may increase endurance and let you exercise for longer. “Beetroot juice can result in benefits for athletic performance, such as traveling a distance more quickly and recuperating more quickly.”

4. Also Thanks to Nitrates, Beets Can Enhance Cognition

A diet high in nitrates may provide some defense against neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. Consumption of nitrate-rich beetroot juice was associated with improved cognition in both younger and older persons in a limited experiment, but more thorough research is required.

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According to Volpe, beets promote cognition through raising blood levels of nitric oxide (the bioactive form of nitrate), which increases oxygenation of the brain. A keen mind is even more crucial as you age.

5. Beets’ Anti-Inflammatory Properties May Improve Joint Health

The pigments that give beets their vivid red color are called betalains. The Cleveland Clinic claims that the high concentration of betalains in beets has anti-inflammatory effects that can relieve joint discomfort and reduce inflammation throughout your entire body. According to Harvard Health Publications, chronic inflammation is a “silent killer” that has been related to conditions like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Beetroot is the main source of betalains, which are implicated in the pathways of the body’s inflammatory process, according to a review published in Human Nutrition and Metabolism in September 2021. Researchers have shown that betalains have anti-inflammatory properties in osteoarthritis patients.

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6. Beets May Improve Outcomes in Liver Disease

One of your most vital organs is the liver, yet the prevalence of liver illnesses is increasing. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a disorder brought on by too much fat in the liver, is thought to affect 24 percent of American adults, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). NAFLD can raise the risk of liver cancer and liver failure even though persons with the condition can have normal lives. A healthy lifestyle, particularly one that includes eating beets, can be beneficial.

According to a November 2019 paper in Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science, the active ingredient in beets, betaine, may be the reason for the vegetable’s antioxidant capabilities and favorable effects on liver indicators in persons with NAFLD.

7. The Antioxidants in Beets Possess Cancer-Fighting Properties

Beets contain antioxidants that, according to Volpe, inhibit the cellular growth and progression of cancer. They are one of the few vegetable sources of betalains and anthocyanins, which are antioxidant-rich and protect cells from oxidative damage. According to a review published in December 2018 in Frontiers in Physiology, oxidative damage is brought on by an imbalance of oxidants and antioxidants. An underlying contributing element to disease may be the resulting oxidative stress.

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According to a review in a 2021 issue of the Journal of Cancer Prevention, beets are a rich source of polyphenols, flavonoids, and the aforementioned dietary nitrates, all of which support their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. According to the National Cancer Institute, a diet high in antioxidants, such as one that includes beets, may shield cells from oxidative stress and so help prevent cancer.

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