Did you know that beets are an ancient food that grew naturally along coastlines in North Africa, Asia and Europe?
Originally, people consumed beet greens. The sweet red beetroot wasn't cultivated as a food in its own right until the era of ancient Rome.
By the 19th century, the natural sweetness of beets meant that they were being used as a source of sugar - for which they are still used today.
Beetroots have a sweet, earthy flavor - not to mention their powerhouse nutrients can significantly benefit your health. And although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, you can safely eat beetroots a few times a week, while enjoying their nutritious greens in unlimited quantities.
Here are six great reasons to include beets in your diet on a regular basis:
- Lower blood pressure (BP) - according to one study, drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic BP by an average of 4-5 points within a few hours. This is most likely because of the presence of naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide (NO) in the body. NO helps to relax and open up your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering BP.
- More stamina - according to research, those who drank beet juice before working out were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer. This benefit is also thought to be related to nitrates turning into NO and reducing the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise, along with enhancing tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
- Fighting off inflammation - beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins and enzymes in your body from environmental stress. It's also known to fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance and help prevent numerous chronic diseases. Consumption of betaine has been associated with lower levels of inflammation, providing cardiovascular benefits along with health benefits for other systems in your body.
- Anti-cancer properties - the powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models. Also, beetroot extract is currently being studied for its effectiveness in treating human pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.
- Valuable nutrients and fiber - beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber and essential minerals like potassium and manganese. Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which reduces the risk of birth defects.
- Detoxification - betalin pigments in beets support the detoxification process, in which broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body.
If you’re not getting enough beets in your daily diet, then we have just the solution for you!
Copyright: paulmaguire / 123RF Stock Photo