Beets Support Blood Pressure, Brain Health
|By Petra Trudell, Managing Editor on Tuesday, October 8, 2013|
|You may have avoided beets as a kid, but there are so many great
reasons to try them. Find out more about this amazing root vegetable!||
Their bright red color and mild flavor make beets a unique vegetable. Their nutritional profile and benefits also set them apart and make them worth a second look.
Whether you roast, broil, bake or even juice them, beets are a great way to give your body the vital nutrients it needs.
Also known as beetroot, beets (Beta vulgaris) are edible taproots that can be consumed in a variety of ways, either raw or cooked. The leaves are also edible. The red pigment of beets is often used to color different foods and even as an ink for writing or dying fabric. This color compound is known as betanin.
Nutritional Benefits of Beets
Beets have been consumed around the world for centuries as both a food source and for medicinal purposes. Beets are a great source of vitamins A and C, folic acid, minerals like iron and potassium as well as fiber, which supports digestive regularity.
The presence of nitrates within beet juice has been credited for many of its actions within the body to support health, according to published research. Nitrates are a form of nitrogen that is converted to nitric oxide within the body and is known to open to blood vessels.
Published back in April in Hypertension, a British study found consuming 250 mL of beetroot juice lowered the blood pressure of men and women diagnosed with high blood pressure for a period of 24 hours. Consuming the juice of beets may also promote greater oxygen flow to the brain, which may be beneficial for the elderly to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia. Lastly, this greater delivery of oxygen may be beneficial to athletes, providing greater endurance for runners, according to 2012 study conducted by researchers at St. Louis University and published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The betanins within beets may also help reduce homocysteine levels, which can help prevent heart disease or peripheral vascular disease and lower the risk for stroke. They act as antioxidants within the body, fighting off free radicals that can cause stress and oxidative damage to the body. We encounter free radicals from pollution and even in the foods and beverages we consume. More research is needed to confirm this benefit and the others previously mentioned.
How to Get the Benefits of Beets
You can start adding beets to your diet by experimenting with different cooking methods. They can be roasted with potatoes and carrots or added to salads. You can also try juicing them with some lemon, apple and ginger for a surprising sweet and detoxifying sip.
If you're not a fan of the taste or can't get fresh beets where you live, supplements are also available. Beet juice is sold bottled and beet extract can be found in capsule form for ultimate convenience. No reason to miss out on all the amazing things beets can do!
A word of caution when eating beets -- they can make your urine a pink color and give a deep, red hue to your bowel movements. This is nothing to be concerned about. If you have suffered kidney stones in the past, beets may not be a good choice as they contain oxalates, which can cause calcium to form stones within the kidneys instead of being absorbed into the tissues of the body.
Check out all the products we carry at eVitamins featuring beet extract and give this amazing root a try!
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