Vegetable Series: Beets

Beets often have a poor public outlook, much like brussels sprouts, with often people being unwilling to even try them due to their negative connotation. 

That being said, it’s time to shed the negativity surrounding beets and understand that these amazing vegetables fall into the category of “super foods,” dense with all kinds of nutrients that can improve circulation and cognitive functions, reduce blood pressure, and so much more. Let’s look at some of the benefits of these “ugly ducklings” of vegetables.

Benefits

    1. Lowers blood pressure: beets have natural nitrates, that are converted into nitric oxide within your body. This helps to dilate your blood vessels, which in turn improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Having a few beets or drinking a glass of beet juice each day can significantly lower blood pressure, in many cases in just a matter of hours.
    2. Reduces the risk of heart disease: beets contain betaine and folate, which together are responsible for lowering your blood levels of homocysteine. Minimizing homocysteine reduces your risk of artery damage and of heart disease.
    3. Improves stamina: nitrates in beets are also important for endurance and athletic performance. Studies vary, but most argue that between three and five beets are required to have your athletic performance bolstered, with this performance assistance taking place a couple hours after ingestion. If you’re looking to get a great workout in, train for that marathon, or dominate in your upcoming game, slam some beets a few hours before and watch as your endurance carries you through your athletic performance.
    4. Helps with weight loss: beets are a great source of fiber while having zero fat. Their fiber is also half soluble and insoluble, meaning that they both help maintain proper bowel function and lower cholesterol levels. Beets are also a great source of magnesium, which contributes to nerve and muscle function, which can indirectly help with weight loss.
    5. Improves digestion: as briefly mentioned above, beets aid with digestion. The fiber in beets help to regulate bowel movements and improve the body’s ability to digest food. It also reduces risks of colon inflammation, which decreases gas, bloating and nausea.

How do you take your beets?

There are plenty of ways to eat beets. If you’re not interested in slicing them up and eating them like carrots, there are some better ways to get the health benefits of beets while still enjoying them.

  1. Roasted: this is probably the most popular way to eat your beets. Often you will find people enjoy eating them with green beans or some cheese.
  2. Salads: beets are great in salad as an accessory, and are actually pretty versatile in terms of what types of salads to use them in. You can throw beets in with mandarin oranges and a balsamic. You can throw beets in with walnuts and honey mustard. It really doesn’t matter what type of salads you’re into, beets are a good way to add additional health benefits.
  3. Desserts: sounds ridiculous, but beets are known for being used in a sweet setting as they have the highest natural sugar content amongst vegetables. Look up some beet-infused desserts for some fun dessert options.

Beet Juice

Beet juice is another great way to ingest beets in a quicker way. While the taste may take some getting used to, you can mix it with a more pleasant tasting juice in order to start to acquire a taste for it. With that in mind, beet juice has all of the health benefits of beets, but is a more popular trend of beet ingestion.

Don’t be scared

I’m not sure how the negative stigma of beets began, but let me assure you, there is nothing to be afraid of. Are they going to taste as good as ice cream and have you excited every day for when you get to take down a handful of beets? No. But, a vegetable is a vegetable, and implementing beets into your daily diet is going to help you become a healthier version of yourself, one beet at a time.

So I encourage you, try them out. I don’t know about you, but I like any easy adjustment in my life that gives me significant health benefits. That is exactly what consuming beets can do for you. Eat beets, get benefits.