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Most commonly known in the U.S as beets but known to the Brits as beetroots, beets are a hardy root vegetable known to the scientific community as Beta vulgaris. Beets have an earthy, sweet flavor that’s best enjoyed roasted. A popular ingredient in salads and side dishes, beets are an important addition to your diet. They’re loaded with many powerful nutrients that provide loads of health benefits. From amping up your vitamin and mineral intake to remediating and even preventing some diseases, beets can truly support optimal health. Take a peek at some of the many ways incorporating beets into your diet may benefit your overall constitution.
Important Note: All of the claims made within are supported by the most current scientific research at the time of this publication.
Packed With Nutrients
Beets are loaded with many powerful nutrients; uniquely, they contain bits of nearly all of the vitamins your body needs to consume daily making beets a well-rounded vegetable. One of the beet’s most profound nutrients is folate, checking in at 20% of the daily recommended intake per serving; folate is linked to heart health. Furthermore, beets contain high levels of fiber, manganese, copper, and potassium. Notably, manganese is particularly important to bone growth, metabolism, and brain function while copper is also integral to your brain’s neuortransmitters. Additionally, beets are fraught with magnesium, vitamins B6 and C, and respectable concentrations of iron. Lastly, beets are low in calories and fat while high in protein making them a remarkably nutritious food choice.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Certainly, beets are a highly nutritious food choice that provide you with so many vitamins and minerals per serving.
Help Manage Blood Pressure
What’s more, making beets a regular part of your diet may help you to better manage your blood pressure. Interestingly, a number of studies have concluded that regular beet consumption can lower existing high blood pressure. In many of these studies, beets have been shown to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in subjects with high blood pressure. It’s no secret that well-managed blood pressure reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease. Scientists posit that it’s the high levels of nitrates in beets that contribute to the lowering of blood pressure. Additionally, the high concentration of folate in beets has been linked in many studies to lowering blood pressure. The only catch to the management of blood pressure with beet consumption is that the effects are only temporary. Beets need to be consumed regularly to have a sustained effect on blood pressure. As healthy blood pressure is an indicator of heart health, consuming beets regularly may have a positive effect on both blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. While hundreds of studies indicate that beets are good for blood pressure, there are some that indicate otherwise.
Beets are rife with pigments known as betalains which are linked to anti-inflammation. These betalains can help manage the types of inflammation that lead to chronic illnesses such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and some cancer types. One study indicated that people who consumed beet juice regularly over a two-week period experienced a significant decrease in several inflammatory markers. Another study revealed that subjects diagnosed with osteoarthritis experienced improved comfort and reduced inflammation in the joints with the incorporation of beets in their diet. Finally, in lab tests, beet consumption had a positive effect on kidney inflammation.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. Though there are only a few human studies looking into a connection between beets and inflammation, this field is promising. More human studies are indicated, though.
Reduces Risk of Cancer
Beets contain a handful of plant compounds that have been scientifically linked to a reduced risk for cancer. Some of these compounds include betaine, rutin, and caffeic acid. Although, there are only a few studies on this subject, and those that do exist are test-tube studies, beet juice has been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells. Other studies, not necessarily specific to beets, indicated that betaine intake is indicative of a reduced risk for a cancer diagnosis.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. While this field of study is a promising one, there aren’t any studies specifically connecting beets to a reduced risk of cancer. More research is warranted.
Enhances Brain Health
The nitrates in beets may be instrumental in slowing the onset of age-related brain diseases. Nitrates work to dilate the blood vessels that deliver blood to the brain; this process is important to healthy brain function. Specifically, nitrates are credited with improved blood flow to the areas of the brain concerned with decision making and memory. One profound study showed that individuals consuming beets on a daily basis for a two-week period experienced improved cognitive function than those who did not consume beets.
General Consensus: 2.5/5 and here is why. While the nitrates in beets surely improve blood flow to the brain, more research is needed to determine just how effectively beets can improve overall brain health.
Good For Weight Loss and Management
Beets are a wonderful addition to a healthy, nutrient-wise diet. What’s more, they’re a great addition to your diet especially if you’re concerned with weight loss or management. Beets are low in calories and fat while high in protein and vital nutrients. Beets also have a high water content which provides energy and hydration both of which are essential to weight management. Moreover, the high fiber and protein content of beets provides you with a feeling of fullness that may help you avoid excess calorie intake. Notably, beets are an easy addition to your diet as they can be enjoyably consumed at just about any meal or snack time. Finally, the nutrient density of beets allows you to improve the quality of your vegetable intake.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Beets are incredibly nutritious and optimally supportive of weight loss and management.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
May Improve Athleticism
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. Some studies suggest that the nitrates in beets may affect athletic performance through energy production, however, more research is indicated.
May Be Good For Digestion
General Consensus: 2.5/5 and here is why.
Although beets are a good source of fiber, which is likely why it’s suggested they’re good for digestive health, there are too few studies on beets and digestion to say for certain; more research is necessary.