(NaturalHealth365) Beets may not be high on your list of favorite foods, but word about the health benefits of beets and beets nutrition is spreading. A study published in Hypertension journal showed that beet juice is as effective as medications for lowering blood pressure, and (best of all) without negative side effects.
In fact, drinking beet juice – as part of a nitrate-rich diet – has also been linked with increased blood flow to the brain and better cognitive performance, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Nitric Oxide.
Why beets should be part of your diet … From disease prevention to sports performance, the benefits of beets are more than you can imagine. Here are 9 of the most compelling benefits of beets nutrition:
1. Rich in fiber and key nutrients – Fiber is linked with gut health and a feeling of satiety that lasts. Beets nutrition also includes vitamin C, potassium, folate and manganese. And, because of their nutrient content – beets can help to support organ, nerve and bone health as well as the immune system.
2. Increased energy and stamina – Beets are loaded with healthy carbohydrates for energy. Studies have shown drinking beet juice prior to a workout allows for a 16 percent longer exercise session. As nitrates are turned into nitric oxide, oxygen “cost” in the body is reduced during physical activity.
3. Regulates blood pressure – Beet juice is a potent and effective natural way to lower blood pressure. Just one glass of beet juice drops systolic blood pressure by around 4 to 5 points. This likely due to its nitric oxide content – which naturally relaxes and dilates the blood vessels, improving the flow of blood and lowering pressure.
4. Reduces inflammation – The nutrient betaine in beets is known for protecting proteins, enzymes and cells from environmental stress. This in turn helps to reduce inflammation, improve vascular risk factors, protect internal organs and enhance internal performance. And, of course, reduced inflammation will bring about greater protection against many chronic illnesses, including autoimmune diseases and dementia.
5. Detoxification – Beets contain betalin pigments, which aid in detoxification. Broken down toxins essentially bind to the molecules and can then be excreted. In this way, beets purify both the blood and the liver.
6. Improved cardiovascular health – The high fiber content of beets assist in balancing cholesterol levels by lowering triglycerides and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol while increasing good (HDL) cholesterol. This clears out the arteries and reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis and other heart issues.
7. Reduced cancer risk – The phytonutrients that give beets and other produce their deep color are associated with antioxidant and anticancer benefits. In fact, research has shown that beetroot extract blocks tumor formation in numerous cancer types.
8. Respiratory issues – The high content of vitamin C in beets also make it effective in combating respiratory problems. It reduces the symptoms of asthma and also reduces the chances of lung issues including cancer.
9. Eye health – The beta-carotene, or vitamin A in beets also gives them a protective effect for the eyes. Eating beets lowers your risk of macular degeneration, eye strain, cataracts and other eye diseases.
Clearly, this unassuming root vegetable backs an incredible punch for good health. In addition to eating sliced beets and beet greens on salads and on sandwiches, consider also drinking beet juice regularly and mixing concentrated beet powder into smoothies.