Hate them or love them, beets are being hailed as one of the newest popular superfoods. Gone are the days of the humble roasted beetroot, nowadays people are putting them in anything from salads and smoothies to desserts! But why the sudden attraction to beets? As it turns out, people not only love them for their versatility, but they are discovering the health benefits that beets have to offer.
Health Benefits of Beets
One of the most notable thing about beets is their bright, vibrant color. Beets come in a variety of colors, but people most associate beets with a deep red color. This bright red color is due to pigments called betalains which come in two basic types, betacyanins and betaxanthins. The betacyanins are red-violet pigments and these are the ones found in red beets. Many betalains function as both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecules .
There are many health benefits associated with consuming fruit and vegetables ranging from helping with diabetes and obesity, to heart disease and weight loss. Here’s how including beets can have a positive impact on your overall health.
Researchers from Wake Forest University discovered just how beneficial beets are for your brain. They discovered that drinking beet juice can increase blood flow to the brain in older adults. As we age, parts of our brain don’t get as much blood as they should, which some believe to be associated to dementia and poor cognition .
Beets contain a high level of nitrates, and when we eat high-nitrate foomusclds, the good bacteria in our mouth turn it into nitrite. Research shows that nitrites can help open up blood vessels in our body, increasing blood flow and oxygen specifically to places that are lacking oxygen .
Besides betalains, beets also contain another antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid. Alpha-lipoic acid may help lower glucose levels in the body, as well as increase insulin sensitivity and prevent changes caused by oxidative stress in those suffering from diabetes .
Digestion and Weight Loss
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Beets are high in fibre, making them the perfect addition to a diet focused on good gut and digestive health. Beetroots help prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract. Their high fibre content also keeps you full for longer, meaning you won’t feel the need to graze on snack in between meals.
Another key nutrient in beets is choline. Choline is important because it is responsible for sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory, but also its ability to fight inflammation . Choline helps to regulate inflammation in the cardiovascular system by preventing the buildup of homocysteine, which is linked to unwanted inflammation and cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis .
3 Things You’ll Notice When You Eat Beets For 2 Weeks
If the benefits above aren’t enough to convince you to enjoy more beets in your diet, than maybe Erin Strout can change your mind. Erin is a contributor for Runner’s World, so she knows a thing or two about proper diet and exercise. In June, after reading up on how beets can help athletic performance by improving muscle oxygenation during exercise , she decided to get back on the track by using the power of beets .
Bathroom Visits Are Frightening… At First
If you’ve had beets before then you know what we’re talking about. The betalains in beets don’t just give the root vegetable it’s distinct color, it can also change the color of your urine and bowel movements. Depending on how you prepare your beets too, it could make a difference in what you’ll see in your toilet bowl.
Beets are so packed with fibre that you’ll notice yourself not having to reach for that snack in the middle of the day. One cup of beets contains 3.8 grams of fibre, or 14% of the daily recommended amount. We suggest including some beets into your morning smoothie to get a boost of energy in the morning and keep you satisfied all the way to lunch.
Don’t Be Beat By Beets
People might be a little intimidated by how to prepare beets or just not interested in eating roasted beets every day for 14 days. Well, as we mentioned before, there is more than one way to eat a beet. You can make a delicious borscht, or maybe some red velvet brownies! When it comes to preparing your beets, all you need to do is roast them in the oven until soft. After that you can prepare them and store them in the fridge for whenever you need them.
If you would like to read Erin’s full account, you can find her article here.
Now you don’t need to be a marathon runner gettoing back onto the track to start eating more beets. If you’re looking to better your health through diet, making beets a staple of your kitchen is a step in the right direction.
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