By Michelle Schoffro Cook, Care2
Beets are delicious and nutritious powerhouses. Here are 7 healthful reasons to love beets!
1. Lower Blood Pressure (when high)A recent study at London’s Queen Mary University found that one glass of beet juice daily was more effective at lowering high blood pressure than medication. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stop taking medication if you have high blood pressure.
But, it does mean that adding a cup of beet juice and more beets to your diet could be helpful in the treatment of high blood pressure, angina and heart disease.
2. Increase Exercise EnduranceA study at England’s University of Exeter found that eating foods rich in naturally-occurring nitrates, like beets, improved endurance during exercise. The scientists studied various substances and training methods to see which, if any, would improve stamina. Beet juice had the greatest effect, improving peoples’ ability to exercise for 16% longer than without it, without tiring. Naturally-occurring nitrates have been shown to widen blood vessels and allow more oxygen-rich blood to travel to the heart.
3. Anti-InflammatoryRaw beets or raw beet juice contain betaine, a natural anti-inflammatory that helps protect against aging and disease.
4. Anti-Cancer EffectsThe phytonutrient, proanthocyanidin, that gives beets their rich purplish color is also a potent anti-cancer compound. Meanwhile the fiber found in beets also helps protect against cancer. This particular fiber increases the body’s ability to detect and remove abnormal cells in the body before they can become cancerous.
5. Immunity BoosterBeets are high in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system.
6. Reduce The Risk Of Birth DefectsBeets are high in the B-complex vitamin folate which when consumed by pregnant women have been shown in many studies to reduce the risk of birth defects in the baby.
7. Rich In Essential MineralsBeets are also high in the minerals manganese and potassium. Manganese is required for healthy bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Potassium helps ensure healthy nerve and muscle function.
How Are Beets Best Enjoyed?
- You can use cooked beets in soups and stews. Try steamed beets tossed with a little flax oil and sea salt
- They can be enjoyed sliced or grated, in salads
- They can be juiced
- They can be steamed and pureed
- The juice can be used as a natural pink food coloring
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