It’s not surprising that beets are healthy. But, maybe you didn’t know the extent of how beets can improve your heath. Beets, otherwise known as nature’s candy, can definitely help you out there. The health benefits of beets are wide and numerous, and in some cases surprising!!
I was not always a beet lover. In fact, I had them once as a kid and disliked them so much, at that time (I think they were canned. ‘Nuff said.) that I had a legitimate fear of eating them. It wasn’t until moving to Finland, (hence the name “Cold Texan” in case you were wondering) having dinner with my husband’s family, and eating everything on my plate so as not to accidentally offend the cook, that I finally gave them another try.
Much to my surprise, I loved them!
Here in my current neck of the world, they even frequently serve them alongside burgers instead of fries. This will definitely be one of those cultural things I will happily adopt and take back with us when we move home.
A Little History
Did you know…
- Beets are considered a prehistoric food. Originally they were eaten for their leafy green tops (what we call Swiss Chard).
- It wasn’t until the ancient Roman era that the red root was cultivated and consumed.
- In the middle ages, beets were used medicinally to speed up the healing process of wounds and for digestive issues.
- The Romans used them medicinally. It was the french chefs in the 1800’s that recognized their culinary appeal.
- In the 19th century beets became known as a popular source of sugar.
How Beets Can Improve Your Health
What are the health benefits of beets? I’m so glad you asked!! Not only are beets delicious, they are full of all kinds of good healing nutrients.
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If you scoffed at the “delicious” comment I just made, you gotta try my recipe. They don’t taste earthy at all. I found a trick!!
Great For Athletes!
Great news for all the athletes out there. Beets can help enhance your athletic performance thanks to their high levels of nitrates (not to be confused with nitrites, which is the bad stuff in processed meats, and can also be found in some workout supplements).
Research shows that drinking beet juice is much healthier and safer than taking caffeine and workout supplements. There’s a reason they are called a “Super Food”!
And to top it all off, a little something for the adults out there; in my research, I also saw them referred to as “nature’s viagra” for both men an women. This, again, is thanks to Nitrates in beets.
Researchers believe that the effect of increasing circulation by eating beets is responsible for helping to improve low libido and erectile dysfunction.
Not to over share, but, uh….. we tested that out, just a fun little experiment. It was a good couple of days after that dinner, if ya know what I mean. Took about 24 hours to take effect.
Fight Inflammation and Improve Heart Health
Did you know, beets are a source of betaine? Betaine gives them anti inflammatory properties, help with your metabolism, detox the liver, and can even help with headaches. Betaine can also lower levels of homocysteine in the body, a chemical known for being harmful to blood vessels.
Beet juice can also lower the blood pressure by 4-5 points because the Nitrates convert to nitric oxide in the blood which helps dilate blood vessels.
Other Nutritional Properties
- Beets contain folate which protect unborn babies against birth defects
- They contain manganese and potassium which is essential for nerve and muscle function as well as liver, pancreas, and kidney functions.
- They help with a number of eye conditions due to their vitamin composition.
- The dark red color means they are full of antioxidants which are great for giving your skin a nice glow, keeping cancer away, and so much more.
- Beets are great for digestion as they have a laxative quality.
A Word Of Caution
Despite that 1 cup of raw beets scores very low on the glycemic scale the majority of their calories come from sugars. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor before increasing your intake of foods that have this quality.
Earlier in my career I worked with a doctor who would preach on the health benefits of beets, how great they were, what organs they helped, etc. Like I said, at the time, I wasn’t a fan. But, I’m a totally believer now that I’ve given them another chance.
Give beets a regular spot on your meal rotation and see what they do for you! I can personally attest through my own experiments with them, that they have well deserved popularity!
Don’t forget to give my Simple and Easy Roasted Beets a try. PS they are kid approved!!
Already a beet lover? How do you like to cook them? Tell us in the comments.
- Dr. Mercola – Benefits of Beets
- The Spruce – The History Of Beets
- The Health Site – Beetroot To Boost Your Libido
- NutritionData – Raw Beets Nutrition Facts