Beets are nutritious and flavorful, versatile enough to be eaten on their own or as a tasty addition to salads, juices, or dips. If you don’t care for the flavor – beets do have a distinct earthy quality – there are also ways to disguise the taste yet still enjoy the benefits. And as we’ll explain, there are many reasons to make beets a daily habit.
First of all, beetroot (the red bulb underneath the green shoot and leaves) has a ton of vitamins and minerals yet few calories. It is particularly high in folate and manganese, but also contains a good amount of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and iron. There is about 1.7 grams of protein in each 3.5 ounce serving, as well as 2 grams of fiber, all for just 44 calories.
But the nutrition is just the beginning. We’ve examined what can happen to your body if you make the choice to eat some beets every day, and it’s really exciting. From disease prevention to weight loss, there is no shortage of compelling reasons to try.
1. Healthy Blood Pressure Levels
High blood pressure is a leading indicator for potentially fatal events like heart attack or stroke. And the even scarier news is that high blood pressure tends to be asymptomatic until something bad happens. That’s why foods that can lower your blood pressure are important to eat every day. Beets have been shown to lower blood pressure by 4-10 mmHg over a few hours after consumption.
The effect has been attributed to the high levels of dietary nitrate in beetroot. During digestion, the dietary nitrate is converted to nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow. The effect is only temporary, lasting for about six hours after consumption, providing another strong rationale for eating beets every day.
2. Better Athletic Performance
Athletes have long known about the energy-boosting effects of beets, and often eat them before a big event. Many studies indicate that the nitrates in beets improve the efficiency of mitochondria, the energy-producing center of your cells. Beets are also thought to improve the way the body uses oxygen by up to 20%.
Athletes who participated in studies on the effects of beet juice were able to significantly improve their performance and extend their time to exhaustion. Blood nitrate levels peak about 2-3 hours after eating beets, so that’s your best window for eating them if you hope to improve your athletic performance.
Eat Beetroot Daily and This Can Happen to Your Body
3. Reduced Inflammation
General inflammation is a factor in just about every disease known to man, but chronic inflammation is especially associated with diseases including arthritis, cancer, obesity, heart disease, and liver disease. Beets help reduce inflammation via red pigments called betalains. Both whole beets and beetroot juice has been shown to reduce kidney inflammation in rats.
For humans with osteoarthritis, study participants given betalain capsules made from beets reported reduced pain from the condition. Additional studies with humans are necessary to learn more, but early results convincingly link the betalain in beets with a reduction in chronic inflammation.