Beets are one of the most overlooked items in the grocery store produce section. Both their roots and their greens are very useful in maintaining good health. In fact, this superfood has dozens of health benefits, from fighting against diseases to weight loss. These veggies are a versatile and effective way to improve your diet. Like most root vegetables, beets are not always visually appealing, but they are packed with a big variety of nutrients. To appreciate their value, it is helpful to be aware of how each of these nutrients impacts your health.
One of the best things about beets is that they are very low in calories. That means you can add them to your salad or eat them raw. One cup has about 60 calories, making them a very healthy and filling food. Given how sweet-tasting these vegetables are, it's a good way to remedy a mid-afternoon sweet tooth without all of the calories that sugary foods normally contain. Raw beets are also crunchy, which can make them a good replacement for unhealthy deep-fried chips and other satisfying snacks.
A cup of beets won't exceed the maximum daily recommended value for vitamin C intake, but it will get you more than a tenth of the way there. Add a handful of beets to your salad or snacking on them raw can help to boost your health. Vitamin C is proven to help you increase your ability to recover from illnesses more quickly, and many people have found that it helps them to avoid getting sick altogether. In addition to boosting your immune system, vitamin C can help to improve stamina and energy levels in most patients.
Beets contain about six percent of your daily recommended value for iron in every cup. That makes them a good source of iron, especially for those need to make sure they're getting iron in every bite. Patients with iron-deficiency anemia or who have special dietary restrictions like vegetarianism and veganism need to maximize their iron intake, so eating beets can be a good way to add just a little more iron to every meal. Iron deficiency can result in weakness, fatigue, and irritability due to a lack of hemoglobin, so it is important to make sure you're getting enough each day.
Another important nutrient in beets is magnesium. Magnesium has a variety of functions, including preventing inflammation that leads to serious conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis, and even asthma. They contain about seven percent of your recommended daily value of magnesium, so they can be a good source, especially when combined with other magnesium-rich foods like spinach, kale or nuts. Magnesium has also been shown to help patients with prehypertension avoid high blood pressure. Because many other nutrients in beets also work to reduce high blood pressure, they are a good food for anyone with cardiovascular concerns.
Beets are fiber-rich, meaning that one cup of beets has over 15 percent of the recommended amount of fiber. Fiber is necessary to properly digest foods, and can aid in everything from regularity to controlling cholesterol levels. Another important function of fiber is that it helps you to feel full more quickly, meaning that you're less likely to keep munching on snacks if you first eat fiber-rich foods like a beet. By adding them to your salad, you reduce the chance that you'll also need second-helpings of an unhealthy food to feel satisfied at meal time.
One of the many benefits of beets is that they are loaded with folates, including folic acid and B9. These important nutrients can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing the amount of homocysteine in your blood, and it has plenty of other health benefits as well. In fact, folic acid is so valuable to your health that taking it in supplement form as part of a prenatal vitamin routine is highly recommended for pregnant women, in order to promote a healthy pregnancy. Beets contain nearly 37% of the recommended daily value for folate, with nearly 150 MCG per cup.
Potassium is an important mineral that can be found in beets. This nutrient is an electrolyte, which means that it helps to conduct electrical impulses that control important functions like digestion, nerve usage, and muscle movement. Beets contain more than 12 percent of your recommended daily value in each cup, making them a good source of this valuable mineral. In fact, they contain about 450 mg in every cup, which is almost as good as the 540 mg that a cup of potassium-rich banana slices would typically contain. If you are lacking potassium in your diet, beets are certainly a good way to go.
For all of the positive nutritional facts about beets, one of the downsides is that they are very high on sugar. There are nine grams of sugar in every cup of beets, which makes beets a little more sweet than many other superfoods. However, the sugars found in fresh fruits and vegetables are not as dangerous for your waistline as the artificial sweeteners used in most processed foods, like candy or packaged cookies. That means you can eat a moderate amount without feeling guilty, allowing you to reap the benefits of this delicious and nutritious vegetable.
Betaine is a nutrient found in beets that can help you in a variety of ways. Betaine is an amino acid which can help to decrease the risk of heart disease just like folate. It reduces the buildup of damaging plaque in the arteries, keeping your bloodstream flowing properly. Betaine has other benefits, too, including helping to detox your liver and allow it to work more effectively. Some research has even suggested that betaine can help to improve stamina and endurance and encourage weight loss. Beets contain 175 mg of betaine, making them the go-to source for this important nutrient.
Beets contain an abundance of phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are a group of nutrients called betalains, and they have been shown to help fight against cancer, along with many other diseases. Betalains work to stop cancers of the digestive tract, as well as breast and lung cancers, by inhibiting free radicals and reducing damage to cells over time. The phytonutrient that causes beets to turn purple, betacyanin, is one of the most promising anti-carcinogenic treatments that are being researched right now. Betalains also work to battle heart disease, obesity, and other chronic conditions, and act as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Beets are loaded with heart-healthy nitrates, which can reduce blood pressure and help patients with cardiovascular issues. The body uses the nitric oxide from these nutrients to dilate blood vessels and improve circulation. Studies have also found that beets can reduce the risk of blood clots, helping patients who are at high risk for developing this life-threatening condition. Nitrates also help to allow better blood flow to the brain, and eating beets to improve nitric oxide levels is especially important for older adults. They can help to improve memory and mental processing in this way.
Antioxidants are an important part of why beets are so beneficial to your health. The antioxidants in beets include lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients help to protect eye health and prohibit the development of degenerative conditions like cataracts and declining vision. When most people think of eye health, they think of carrots, but beets have very similar components. Beets come in a variety of colors, from traditional purple to orange, and these colors are largely influenced by the types and amounts of antioxidants in them. These antioxidants can help to ward off a variety of diseases, from cardiovascular issues to cancer.
One fairly surprising nutritional fact about beets is that many of the nutrients are actually in the greens. Most people who eat beets are more familiar with the colorful root portion that we see cut into slices at salad bars. However, the nutrients in beets can actually be found in even greater quantities in the greens that poke out of the ground as they grow. To maximize your intake of nutrients, try using these greens to make a salad. You can even top the greens with beetroot slices, making it a doubly healthy dish.
Beets are very low in fat, making them beneficial for weight loss. The vitamins and minerals in them can help you to recover more quickly from workouts. They are also well-known for their ability to help you retain less water, flushing stored water supplies from your system and detoxing your body. You should note that beets often make urine red or pink. Don't panic if you notice a change after introducing beets to your diet. Increased urination is a sign that they are doing their job to help you lose weight.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.