Food & Nutrition

9 Health Benefits of Beets (and Risks) You Never Knew About

Beets are packed with healthy nutrients, like five essential vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, and protein. But they can also have some surprising side effects.

Health Benefit: Beets fight cancer

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There are multiple cancer-fighting benefits of beets. Beets contain high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents that studies show may help reduce the risk of some cancers. They get their striking red color from betacyanin, a plant pigment that some preliminary research indicates might help defend cells against harmful carcinogens. Also, high levels of a unique fiber found in beets may be linked to a lower colon cancer risk. Dr. Mehmet Oz has said on sharecare.com that adding a quarter cup of beets to your daily diet could cut your kidney cancer risk. Another one of the beets health benefits you may have forgotten about, it helps boost your brain.

Health Benefit: Beets lower risk of heart disease

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Beets are a good source of folate and betaine. These nutrients act together to help lower blood levels of homocysteine, which can increase your risk of heart disease by causing artery-damaging inflammation.

Health Benefit: Beets boost eye health

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Beet greens are a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that helps protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. They also contain a wide variety of phytochemicals that may help improve the health of your eyes and nerve tissues. Watch out for these “healthy” food habits that you need to ditch right now.

Health Benefit: Beets boost endurance

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British researchers conducted studies that found athletes who drank beet juice mixed with a little apple juice before working out reported better endurance and a lower resting blood pressure than those who did not. The performance boost is thought to be from the nitrates found in the root. And these aren’t the only energy-boosting benefits of beets. Additional research suggests that a beet-apple juice mixture could make certain activities (like walking) less exhausting for seniors.

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