The leaves and roots of beets are packed with nutrition, including antioxidants that fight cell damage and reduce the risk of heart disease.
They’re one of the few vegetables that contain betalains, a powerful antioxidant that gives beets their vibrant color. Betalains reduce inflammation and may help protect against cancer and other diseases.
Beets have many helpful plant compounds that reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage. Some of the other health benefits of beetroot include:
Beetroot and its juice help your heart and lungs work better during exercise. Nitric oxide from beets increases blood flow to your muscles. Some athletes eat beetroot or drink beet juice when exercising to improve their performance.
Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke
Beets are rich in folate (vitamin B9) which helps cells grow and function. Folate plays a key role in controlling damage to blood vessels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Lower blood pressure
Beetroot is naturally rich in nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. This compound lowers blood pressure by causing the blood vessels to relax and dilate.
Strengthen your immune system
Beets are high in fiber and promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Having a lot of healthy bacteria in your digestive system will help fight disease and strengthen your immune system. Fiber also improves digestion and reduces the risk of constipation.
The nutrients in beets include folate - a vitamin that helps keep blood vessels healthy - and potassium, which helps protect your heart.
Nutrients per serving
Half-cup beets contains: Calories: 37
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: Less than 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 8 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 7 grams
Beets are also an excellent source of these nutrients:
- vitamin C
- Vitamin A
How to make beets
Beets are the plants that grow best in spring and fall. The roots are harvested while the leaves are still young and tender. If you want the sweetest, most gentle beets, look for baby beets in the winter.
Canned or frozen beets are still very nutritious. Beetroot powder is also a popular dietary supplement.
Beets are often roasted because their natural sugars create a tasty caramelization when fried over high heat. They can also be eaten raw. Grate them into a salad or ventilate the slices on a cheese plate to get a strong color.
Here are some creative ways to enjoy beets:
- Add the roasted beets to the gazpacho to improve color and flavor.
- Combine the beets with the creamy ricotta salad.
- Grate raw beets and carrots and serve with vinaigrette.
- Juice a small beet and add to fresh apple or orange juice.
- Serve roasted beets with mint yogurt sauce.