Beets are an excellent food for your brain, heart, eyes, and more. They are loaded with antioxidants such as fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. A mere half cup of beets provides 17% of your daily requirement of folate. According to Dr. Ellen Kamhi, author of The Natural Medicine Chest, beets in various colors — from red to gold to white — can help protect against heart disease, birth defects, and certain cancers, particularly colon cancer.
Here are 5 ways beets can boost your health:
- Fight cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, beets inhibit the production of carcinogens and increase production of immune cells and body enzymes that help fight cancer development. Kamhi says it is the betacyanin, compound that gives beets their red color, that reduces the growth of cancer cells.
- Boost your brain. Studies found that one cup of beet juice a day increases blood flow to the brain, keeping it sharp and building a line of defense against dementia associated with aging.
- Lower blood pressure. The nitrates in beets can help lower hypertension, according to experts at Harvard Medical School. The nitrates are converted to nitric oxide by your digestive system which relaxes and widens blood vessels allowing your blood pressure to lower naturally.
- Protect your vision. A recent study from Italy found that the carotenoids found in beets, lutein and zeaxanthin, help reduce the development of common age-related eye problems of the macular and retina, says Kamhi.
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Beets are a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients called betalains that also detoxify the body as well as reduce inflammation.
Kamhi says you can steam, boil, pickle, or roast beets and add them to any dish, including salads.
“It time is a factor you can put a dish together by cutting beets into quarters without removing the skin, steaming them, and serving them as a colorful side dish to your meal,” she says.
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