Author: Stacey Rogers, Strength Coach & Nutritionist
Beets are a well-known healthy Aussie favourite and have been added to our sandwiches, salads and burgers for years! Whether you are already someone who loves beets or are new to them, there are plenty of reasons why beets are a healthy option.
Rich in an array of essential vitamins and minerals, beets are a perfect addition to your diet. The benefits range from reducing inflammation, supporting heart health to protecting your digestive, brain and eye health.
They are extremely versatile and can be eaten raw in salads or juices, baked or cooked and added to recipes from breakfast through to dinner!
A 100g serving of raw beets provides:
- Weightloss - Beets are low in calories and high in fibre, which helps make them filling and can contribute to weight management goals. They are also high in choline that helps with the absorption of fats.
- Cancer Fighting Antioxidants - Beets are naturally high in disease-fighting nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and trace minerals. Beets are a particularly good source of betalains, which function as cancer protective antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Eye Health - Beets are a source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two nutrients that play a role in protecting the eyes from developing harmful conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties - Beets have the ability to combat inflammation due to their betaine compounds and choline. Reducing inflammation is beneficial to every system of the body.
- Learning & Memory - Choline is a very important nutrient in beetroot that helps with learning and memory. It is used by the brain chemical ‘acetylcholine’ and low levels are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Supports Heart Health - Natural dietary nitrates in beets help to regulate inflammation in the cardiovascular system, bringing cholesterol levels into balance and reducing high blood pressure. Nitric oxide helps protect the cardiovascular system because it relaxes the smooth muscle of your blood vessels and may inhibit the development of atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries) and arterial plaques.
- Detoxification - Beetroot helps to stimulate the liver's detoxification processes. Long known as “Blood cleansers”, beets may help your body to cleanse the blood of toxins, heavy metals, and wastes. The fibre in beets also helps to clear the digestive tract of waste and toxins while promoting healthy and regular bowel movements. Detoxifying your body in this way is also an effective way to help naturally slow aging.
- Fighting with Fibre - Beetroot fibre has been shown to increase the level of antioxidant enzymes in the body, (specifically one called glutathione peroxidase), as well as increase the number of white blood cells, which are responsible for detecting and eliminating abnormal cells. Beets are also one of the richest sources of glutamine, an amino acid, essential to the health and maintenance of the intestinal tract.
- Boost Endurance, Stamina & Muscle Recovery - Beetroot juice has two marked physiological effects when consumed. Firstly, it widens blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and allowing more blood flow. Secondly, it affects muscle tissue, reducing the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during activity. The combined effects have a significant impact on performing physical tasks, whether it involves low-intensity or high-intensity effort.
Raw Vs. Cooked Beets?
For maximum nutritional benefits beets are best eaten raw. They are firm, crunchy and mildly sweet tasting. They are a great addition to smoothies, juices or salads. Eating them raw will guarantee you don’t lose any nutrients during the cooking process.
If you prefer beets cooked, to retain the beneficial nutrients it is best to either steam them for a maximum of 20 minutes, or to roast them for up to an hour. We love adding beetroot in our favourite chocolate cake recipe.
Grab some beets the next time you go shopping. Not only do they provide many beneficial nutrients for your body, they also taste great and add amazing colour to your meal!
Strength Coach & Nutritionist - Shredded Strength Institute
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