Health Benefits of Beets
By Dr. Renae Norton
Anybody who doesn’t like pickled beets hasn’t tasted my pickled beets. But besides being absolutely delicious, they are also loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, some of which have medicinal properties. My kind of vegetable!
Let’s just start with the macro-nutrients:
These are the nutrients found in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked beets:
- 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
- Phosphorous: 4% of the RDI
- Manganese: 16% of the RDI
- Iron: 4% of the RDI
As you can see, they are low in calories and fat, yet high in several important vitamins and minerals. The other health benefit of beets is that they also contain inorganic nitrates and pigments that have a number of health benefits. Here are the ones that I think are worth knowing about.
- Beets Help Fight Inflammation
I am all about reducing inflammation whenever possible. In animal studies beets have been shown to reduce the inflammation associated with a number of diseases including obesity, heart disease, liver disease and cancer.  
- Helps Keep Blood Pressure in Check
High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart attacks, heart failure and stroke.
Studies have shown that beets can significantly lower blood pressure over a period of only a few hours. These blood pressure-lowering effects are likely due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets since the body converts nitrates into nitric oxide, which is a molecule that dilates blood vessels. Very cool, right?
- May Help Support Brain Health
One of the things that may contribute to mental decline as we age is the reduction in blood flow and therefore oxygen supply to the brain. Again, beets to the rescue as they promote dilation of blood vessels which increases the blood flow.
- May Improve Digestive Health
Beets have a fair amount of dietary fiber which has been linked to many health benefits, including improved digestion. You probably didn’t know this, but fiber bypasses digestion and heads down to the colon, where it either feeds the friendly gut bacteria or adds bulk to our stool. This promotes better digestive health by preventing constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulitis.
- May Help You Lose Weight
Beets have several nutritional properties that could help you lose or maintain a healthy weight. should make them good for weight loss. They are low in calories and high in fiber, protein and water which can reduce appetite and promoting feelings of fullness.
I like them because I make a batch and it lasts for a week or two.
But besides being pickled, beets can be juiced, roasted, or steamed. Try them in a beet salad by grating them, mix them with yogurt for a wonderful dip, and don’t forget the leaves, which you can eat just like spinach. Such a deal!
- US National Library of Medicine, July 14, 2010, Chronic Inflammation in Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome
- National Library of Medicine, October 30, 2016, Improvement of hypertension, endothelial function and systemic inflammation following short-term supplementation with red beet (Beta vulgaris L.) juice: a randomized crossover pilot study
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