Beetroots – Amazing Benefits With a Few Risks
Beetroots, or beets, are a dark-red root veggie packed with plant nutrients. The entire vegetable is edible, including the leafy greens. Many people use a juicer to transform beetroots into an energizing smoothie. What are the pros and cons of adding beetroots to your diet?
Why Are Beetroots So Popular?
The list of health benefits from beetroots is long and exciting. Here are five amazing reasons to get plenty of beets:
Great heart health: Beetroots, especially raw, greatly lower blood pressure for about six hours after drinking the juice. This can reduce your risk of heart attacks and stroke significantly. Beets also have high levels of folate (20% of your recommended daily amount!) and betaine, which helps prevent inflammation in your arteries.
Likely cancer prevention: Beets have tons of antioxidants to keep cells healthy. The root's red color comes from betacyanin, a powerful phytonutrient that appears to protect the body against cancer-causing toxins.
Excellent eye health: Who doesn’t want to avoid cataracts? Lutein, another antioxidant in beets, can prevent cataracts and other age-related eye problems. Other vitamins in beetroot keep the optic nerve healthy.
Awesome energy levels and endurance: Give your morning an energy boost with amazing nutrients from these dynamic reds. Beetroot juice increases energy levels and stamina in a big way. This is great if you’re getting ready for a workout or walk.
Wonderful long-term brain health: Eating beetroots can benefit your brain in two ways. First, it increases blood circulation, giving the brain more nutrients. Second, antioxidants from beets protect your neurons from damage, which can reduce the risk of dementia.
These red veggies obviously live up to their reputation as nutritional superfoods. They help to protect every part of your body. Do beetroots have any downsides?
Are There Risks to Eating Beetroots?
For the majority of Americans, eating beetroots or drinking beet juice doesn’t cause any health problems. The most common side effect is having urine or stool tinted red after consuming beets. But this effect is harmless.
If you have a tendency to get kidney stones or gout attacks, however, you may want to hold off adding beetroot to your diet. Beets are rich in oxalates, which can contribute to formation of kidney stones and increase levels of uric acid. Other foods high in oxalates include cranberries, strawberries, chocolate and spinach.
If you have irritable bowel syndrome, beetroot can sometimes provoke digestive problems or an upset stomach. Drinking too much beet juice may cause stomach cramps.
If you’re pregnant, you may want to ask your doctor whether beets are a good choice for your diet. On one hand, they have great benefits for blood pressure. On the other hand, some pregnant women are sensitive to high levels of nitrates.
Are the Nitrates in Beets Dangerous?
Some sensational news reports have made people nervous about nitrates. While you may want to avoid smoked or processed meats, there’s no reason to worry about beets.
Most leafy greens and root vegetables are rich in nitrates, including lettuce, carrots, spinach and celery. Scientists and doctors agree that these veggies are a perfectly safe and healthy source of important nutrients.
Of course, you shouldn’t go overboard. A cup of tangy beet juice for breakfast or a vibrant beetroot salad for lunch can be excellent for your health. At the same time, your body needs more than just beetroots. Make sure to get a variety of nutrient-packed red and green foods every day.