Beets are probably not your favorite veggie, maybe because your mother insisted on you eating it when you were young. Well, you might hate me for this, but she had a good reason for it.
In fact, she had numerous good reasons for it!
Beets are packed with countless important nutrients and offer a myriad of health benefits. They can be used in so many ways in the kitchen, as their earthy taste when raw, sweet when roasted, and tart when fermented, goes great in salads, soups, juices, smoothies, pickles, noodles, and desserts.
Apart from being delicious and versatile, beets boost health too!
First of all, they are abundant in nutrients, rich in fiber and water, and low in calories. They are rich in manganese, potassium, folate, and vitamins C, A, and K.
Namely, 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked beetroot contains:
- Calories: 44
- Protein: 1.7 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 6% of the RDI
- Folate: 20% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 3% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 6% of the RDI
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
- Manganese: 16% of the RDI
- Iron: 4% of the RDI
Note that beet leaves are higher in vitamins and minerals than their root. Beet greens are richer in iron than spinach, and contain protein, zinc, magnesium, potassium, B6, copper, fiber, phosphorus, and manganese.
These beneficial vegetables are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Two of them, betanin and vulgaxanthin, offer potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.
Here are some of the health benefits of beets:
- Beet juice has been found to improve heart health, as it boosts muscle capacity in people diagnosed with heart failure and poor reduced ability to exercise
- Beets are high in fiber, which lowers the risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer, and improves digestive health
- Beets strengthen immunity since they contain high amounts of zinc, copper, and vitamins A and C
- Betaine in beets detoxifies the liver and even reverses a fatty liver
- Beets contain naturally occurring nitrates that turn into nitric oxide, that dilates and relaxes blood vessels. This boosts blood flow and lowers blood pressure
- Beets contain betalains, that offer potent anti-inflammatory properties, and researchers have found that they soothe pain and discomfort in the case of osteoarthritis and boos the function of the joints
- Lutein and zeaxanthin in beets positively affect eye health
- Beet juice boosts stamina and improves athletic performance as a result of the high nitric oxide conversion
- The improved blood flow caused by nitric oxide, in turn, improves the function of the brain
- A study done on human cells found that beetroot extract reduced the growth of both breast and prostate cancer cells
- Beets can boost your libido, due to the mineral boron they contain, which plays a role in sex hormone production, and the dietary nitrates that improve blood flow
When buying beets, choose form, medium-sized beets, and avoid the wrinkles and soft ones. If you buy beets with leaves, trim the leaves two inches from the root, and store them in a container or a storage bag for up to four days.
You can keep beets in the fridge for up to three weeks, in a food storage bag or in one of its drawers.
Note that beets are high in sugar, so avoid them in excessive amounts in case you are a diabetic, and due to the high oxalate content, you should limit their consumption if you have gout, bladder or kidney stones.