5 Health Benefits of Beets

Check out these benefits of beets, from aiding cognitive function to boosting athletic performance.

(TalyaAL / Shutterstock.com)

Beets, the root vegetable known for its distinctive dark red color, have attracted the attention of chefs around the world for centuries. This delicious and nutritious vegetable features as a popular element in the cuisines of many cultures. eets are the central ingredient in the classic Eastern European borscht soup, and pickled and seasoned beets are commonly served as a side dish across the Middle East and India. But this simple root vegetable provides many health benefits too.

Highly Nutritious

Beets are a superfood, bursting with high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Low in calories and fat, beets are one of the healthiest foods out there.

In a 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving, cooked beets provide a substantial amount of the DRI (daily required) intake of vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium necessary for a maximally healthy diet. Beets also contain nitrates, which help cells function more efficiently, and are chock full of iron, phosphorus, and iron. If you are looking to eat healthier, beets are a great place to start.

Healthy beet benefits are in this salad.

(Sea Wave / Shutterstock.com)

Workout Booster

Beets contain nitrates, a set of compounds which have been found to boost the efficiency of mitochondria. The powerhouse of the cell, mitochondria are responsible for energy production, and nitrates help speed up their energy-making processes.

Because of their high nitrate content, beets have long been popular with professional athletes and others looking to make the most of their workouts. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that participants who drank 500 ml of beet juice were able to maintain intense workouts for longer periods of time. Researchers found that participants’ time until exhaustion was extended 15 to 25 percent, for an overall improvement to athletic performance of up to 2 percent.

Beet juice benefits athletes.

(Dream79 / Shutterstock.com)

May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Besides boosting athletic performance, the nitrates found in beets can also help lower blood pressure. In a study published in the journal Hypertension, researchers found that consuming beet juice lowers blood pressure in adults. 

The double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial saw participants consume 250 ml of beet juice daily for four weeks. At the end of the four week period, the group that had consumed the beet juice had markedly lower blood pressure levels, as well as improved function in their blood vessels.

Eat the Health benefits of beets in this humus dish.

(zi3000 / Shutterstock.com)

Could Aid Cognitive Function

One of the most surprising health benefits of beets are their potential to help with cognitive functioning. A study published in Nitric Oxide found that the consumption of beetroot juice helped boost cognitive functioning in people with Type 2 diabetes. 

Reaction times during a computer-based cognitive functioning test were 4 percent faster in participants who’d consumed 250 ml of beetroot juice daily for two weeks, than in those who drank a placebo. The researchers believed that the nitrates found in beets help with cognitive functioning because it increases blood flow to the brain.

Reap the health benefits of beets in borscht.

(Food Via Lenses / Shutterstock.com)

May Ease Inflammation

People who suffer from joint pain and inflammation may find relief in beetroot consumption, according to a study published in Nutrition and Dietary Supplements.

Researchers found that consuming a beetroot concentrate pill eased joint pain and helped with joint function. In the placebo-controlled trial of people with knee pain, one group of participants took a 50 mg daily supplement of beetroot concentrate while the other group was given a placebo.

The researchers concluded at the end of the trial that short term use of beetroot concentrate significantly lowered the level of knee pain and improved joint function. Whether the joint inflammation was caused by arthritis, gout, or trauma, beetroot was found to help ease the pain.

These beet sprouts are full of health benefits.

(Yulyazolotko / Shutterstock.com)