Do you include beets in your daily diet? If you do, you may already be doing fantastic things for your body that you might not have even been aware of. That’s because beets have some pretty amazing health benefits that were so surprising, I actually ran out to the store and bought a few bottles of beetroot juice.
So what exactly is a beet? A beet, or beetroot to be exact, is the taproot portion of the beet plant. Basically, what we commonly know and refer to as a “beet”, is actually the root of the beet plant, and while the leaves of the beet plant can be eaten, the root is the most commonly used part of the plant.
I’ve only had beets a few times in my life, and most of the ones I’ve eaten have been either pickled or grilled, which happen to be pretty delicious. I’ve also seen many people slice them up raw and put them in salads, or cook them in various recipes. To me they taste sort of sweet and earthy, which can be an acquired taste to some, but I find that adding them with other veggies makes a really nice meal.
I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “ok, get on with it already!”, so let’s talk about the actual health benefits of eating beets can do for you!
Surprising Health Benefits Of Beets
Besides their slightly sweet and earthy taste, eating beets, or drinking the juice, can do wonders for your health in many ways that you might not even know. Here are 12 different benefits that beets have on your health!
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
This is by far one of the main reasons I ran to the store and bought a few bottles of beet juice, and the science behind it is pretty amazing. Beets contain a natural source of nitrates, which is converted into nitrites and nitric oxide when eaten, and both of these components help in widening the arteries, allowing blood to flow through much easier.
A recent British study showed that patients with high blood pressure, who consumed only one cup a day of beet juice, had a significant drop in blood pressure, and actually outperformed a leading blood pressure medication called hydrochlorothiazide, or HCTZ. Not only are the studies on beet juice pretty significant, but many people who suffer from high blood pressure have reported normal blood pressure levels after a diet of beet juice, and some have even gotten off prescription medications altogether.
2. Helps Regulate Diabetes
Beets naturally have a higher sugar content than other vegetables, and while it may seem counterintuitive to eat them if you are diabetic, studies have shown that beets can actually help regulate diabetes and keep it in check.
Although beets are higher in carbohydrates, the glycemic impact on blood sugar levels is medium, which means it doesn’t turn into sugar as quickly as some other foods might. Some studies have also shown that diabetics who consume raw beets or beet juice with a regular meal, can actually decrease the rate of glucose absorption into the blood stream.
3. Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Beets contain high amounts of antioxidants, with one of those being betacyanin which attributes to the deep reddish-purple color of the root. Betacyanin helps reduce the oxidation of LDL, or bad cholesterol, from forming and sticking to the inside of arteries, thus protecting the heart from potential stroke and heart attacks. Studies have shown that people who eat a diet rich in beetroot have a decreased level of LDL, and a higher level of HDL (the good cholesterol).
4. Great For Pregnant Women
Another health benefit of beets are the large amounts of folic acid they contain, which have been shown to be very beneficial to pregnant women and their unborn child. Fetuses benefit from folic acid because it helps the formation of their spinal cord, and also protects against conditions like spina bifda, a congenital condition where the spinal cord does not fully develop. Beets are also great for giving soon-to-be moms a natural energy boost, which can help alleviate much of the fatigue often felt during pregnancy.
5. Detoxes The Body
Beets are wonderful at detoxing the liver, which helps flush toxins out from the body. This is why some people feel slightly nauseous when starting a beet juice daily diet, as the beets begin working on pulling out the toxins and helping the liver flush them out. Once your body gets used to the daily consumption of beets, your liver will start functioning a lot better, which can also help aid in weight loss.
6. Protects Against Osteoporosis
Another important component in beetroots is the natural source of mineral silica, a compound that is vital to bone and teeth health. Mineral silica helps the body properly absorb calcium, making it much more effective for the bones to absorb. Because of this, eating beets daily can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, or weak and brittle bones.
7. Provides A Good Source Of Iron
Along with many other essential minerals and vitamins, beets are a rich source of iron, which is great for anyone who suffers from anemia. Women especially can benefit from beets, as they are more likely to have lower iron levels than men. Iron is essential to the body because it increases the oxygen levels in the blood, making it readily available for other organs to use, and also helps combat fatigue and hair loss.
8. Relieves Fatigue
Along with iron, beets also have a high nitrate content in them which helps open up the arteries, allowing more oxygen to flow through the blood stream. This boost of oxygen in the body helps combat daily fatigue, and give us a natural source of energy. If you’re feeling sluggish or tired midway through the day, try drinking a glass of beet juice, instead of coffee or tea, for a natural energy boost.
9. Naturally Improves Sexual Health
Beets have been used for centuries for its numerous health benefits, and one of those being its natural treatment of sexual dysfunction. Beetroots, also known as the natural ‘Viagra’, work by supplying more blood flow and oxygen levels to the genitalia, which is exactly what medications like Viagra aim to do as well. Another way beets work for sexual function is through a chemical compound call boron, which helps with the production of human sex hormones, keeping everything optimal and balanced.
10. Protects Against Cancer
Another great reason to add beets into your diet is its amazing ability to help protect against cancer, most notably breast and prostate cancer. Because of its high content of antioxidants, especially betacyanin, studies have shown that eating beets can actually slow the growth of tumors by 12.5%, and also help cancer survivors stay in remission longer.
11. Improves Digestion
Feeling a bit…sluggish? You may just need to add some beets to your diet to get things…*ahem*…moving again. Beets are a wonderful source of fiber, which is great for the digestive tract, and it also helps cleanse and remove any toxins that might be causing gastrointestinal issues. Beets also have a very alkaline effect on the body, meaning they can help neutralize gastric acids and help balance out gut flora.
12. Boosts Brain Power
A study done in the UK has shown that drinking beet juice can greatly improve one’s stamina by up to 16%, simply due to its nitrate content. Because beets help increase oxygen output into the blood, the brain has better functionality and can actually protect against early onset dementia. In addition, the conversion of nitrate into nitrite in the body improves neural transmission, making the brain function more efficiently.
Other Benefits Of Beets
- Makes a great hair conditioner
- Helps treat acne
- Cleanses boils and abscesses
- Helps heal gastric ulcers
- Great for treating skin disorders like dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis
- Use as a natural lip and cheek stain
How To Consume Beets
Beets are best consumed in their raw form, which means you can either slice them up and add them to a fresh salad, or pickle them and combine with other veggies. While you can definitely cook beets, you’ll want to be careful about how long you cook them for as the nitrates can become dangerous if burnt.
I found that the best and easiest way to consume beets is through juicing, or by buying a cold pressed organic juice like this one from Lakewood Organic. If the taste is too earthy for you, mix in a splash of apple juice, carrot juice, or lemon juice to add some sweetness to the beets, but avoid any added sugar if you’re diabetic. You can also add the juice to a smoothie if you want to get a nice well-rounded dose of veggies.
Have you ever eaten beets for its medicinal benefits? How did it work for you? Share below!