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Yes, I am sorry but that amazing bright red color just ignites my passion for eating, creating, and for my health.
Let me explain why.
There are not a lot of veggies in this part of the food rainbow.
Red onion, red cabbage, radishes, red bell peppers, red chilies, red potatoes, and of course tomatoes.
A few of these are not really red though, at least not all the way through. Radishes are actually white as are red potatoes with red just on their outside.
Not trying to get technical but I guess I am getting technical.
So back to beets.
Why should you add these to your diet?
Let’s start with my favorite one
#1 Improves Gut Health:
Beets are high in fiber and beets taking Metamucil(sorry couldn’t resist).
Most of the digestion of the fiber in the beet is done in the colon as opposed to the large or small intestine. The beets fiber is fermented in the colon where the gut’s healthy bacteria can use it for food to thrive.
Of course, that fiber also helps our gut and digestive tract by assisting with protection against constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, ulcers, colon cancer, acid reflux, and obesity.
Not to mention all those neurons that send signals to our brain.
Healthy gut = healthy mind, healthy body.
Unhealthy gut = depression, anxiety, pain, etc.
You can read more about it here.
#2 Improves Cardiac Health
Did you hear about the guy that lived to 103 and never had any health problems?
He consumed mostly veggies and never missed a beet. Ta dum bum bum. Sorry, I am at it again..
Back to business.
A 2014 study published in Hypertension, researchers determined that drinking one cup of beetroot juice daily for four weeks was able to lower blood pressure.
Beets are high in natural nitrites. These nitrites convert to Nitric Oxide (NO) which dilates blood vessels and allows more oxygenated blood to get to muscles including your heart.
The Journal of Nutrition in 2013 published A meta-analysis of 16 trials
The researchers determined that “Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure.”- what and no side effects? We will get to that later.
Nitric oxide (NO) plays a huge role in maintaining endothelial function. The endothelium is responsible for the healthy function of all our vessels and our heart.
An unhealthy endothelium has been implicated in the possible connection to atherosclerosis and hypertension.
Who knew that something as simple as beets could perhaps fix that problem?
Better aerobic performance = better athlete, more energy, improved sexual function
(I told you beets were sexy!)
Again this is all attributed to nitric oxide(NO).
Beets are high in natural nitrites.
These nitrites convert to Nitric Oxide (NO) which dilates blood vessels and allows more oxygen to get to muscles including your heart and (ahem) other body parts.
#4 Protects against cancer
The American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that beets inhibit carcinogen formation and increase the production of cancer-fighting enzymes and immune cells due to betalains which are a pigment that gives beets their bright red color.
Beets are high in folate as well, which is an important B vitamin that provides heart protection and DNA repairing properties which are a great addition to any anti-cancer arsenal.
Those Betalains are also responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of beets as well.
Beets are looking very promising.
#6 May improve cognitive function
According to a study published in 2015, nitric oxide can improve blood flow to the brain as well which may potentially decrease the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive impairments associated with the gradual decline of this important molecule.
#7 Improves your immune system
Oh but wait, there is more: Beets also contain zinc, copper, and vitamins A and C These minerals and vitamins are known to boost immunity against bacteria, viruses, and infections.
Beets also contain iron which carries oxygen through your body keeping your cells strong and improving your immune defense.
You can tell those colds to just “Beet it”.
#8 Better Sex
Beets contain high levels of boron, a mineral that is responsible for increasing natural sex steroids according to a study cited by IMCJ(Integrative Medicine: A Clinicians Journal)
That, along with the ability of NO to increase blood flow and oxygen to the genitals. I would call that nature’s Viagra.. Oh, yeah!!
#9 Good for your liver
Triple bonus: The betaine found in beets supports the elimination of toxins from the liver cells.
Pectin is a fiber that clears the toxins once removed from the liver and then the betalains which are the pigments which are highly anti-inflammatory further encouraging the detoxification process
#10 Eye Health
So beets also contain lutein and zeaxanthin which both support eye health, specifically the retina and macular health.
Who doesn’t want “Beetutiful” eyes? Ok, that is bad.. That was number ten so you don’t have to deal with my corny puns anymore.
But we can’t be thorough without covering any potential side effects:
Side effects: Beets also contain oxalic acid: consuming high amounts of oxalic acid can increase your risk of kidney stones and gout. So, don’t overdo it.
Consuming beets can also cause your pee and poop to turn pink to bright red.
This side effect is harmless as long as you know what to expect.
Otherwise, it can be a little scary.
I remember my mother yelling for me that she was bleeding internally. It took a bit to remember that she had consumed a large number of beets earlier in the day.
Recipes: Here are some great recipes from one of my favorite blogger’s post that includes some awesome looking beet recipes.
Feel free to experiment and search out your own recipes too.
So now that you know the power of beets I challenge you to put them on your grocery list.
Fresh is always the best but even canned beets are full of all the health benefits listed above.
I think adding them to your menu 1 time weekly is a good start.