Much more than adding color and flavor to various dishes, the benefits of beets for our health range from fighting aging to enhancing cancer treatments, including protecting the heart and maintaining sexual desire.
If you are already a fan of this brightly colored vegetable with a sweet taste, know that its properties are not limited to the root alone. In fact, the stems and leaves are also very rich in vitamins and minerals, often standing out more than the purple part we usually consume. Discover the main benefits of this vegetable:
1. Controls Blood Pressure
The combination of nutrients in beets is able to increase elasticity and improve the functioning of the vessels, allowing blood to circulate with less difficulty.
However, in this case, the substance that stands out is a nitrate, which gives rise to nitric oxide. This molecule is able to relax the walls of the arteries and increase their caliber (vasodilation effect), which results in a lower pressure – ideal for those who suffer from hypertension.
2. Increases Physical Capacity During Exercises
Another effect of the nitrate present in beets is an increase in the supply of oxygen to the muscles so that they can better respond to the demands of exercise.
In addition, this vegetable gives athletes more resistance and energy, improving their performance in the last stages of physical activity, which are usually more difficult due to fatigue.
3. Prevents Dementia in the Elderly
The effects of beets on the artery walls promote an improvement in blood circulation throughout the body, including the brain. In this way, this vegetable fights the damage caused by the decrease in brain irrigation resulting from advancing age, preventing the development and progression of senile dementia.
4. Improves Gastrointestinal Function
Because it is rich in fiber, beetroot contributes to the proper functioning of the intestine, preventing problems such as constipation and hemorrhoids.
In addition, betaine, present in this vegetable, helps regulate the production of acid by the stomach, maintaining healthy levels for digestion and preventing conditions such as heartburn and gastritis.
5. Fights Depression and Anxiety
Beetroot contains tryptophan, which is used by the body to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being and relaxation that is often lacking in people with depression or anxiety. This vegetable also provides betaine and folate, two substances that also positively impact mood regulation.
6. Protects the Heart and Blood Vessels
According to a study carried out in USA, the juice of the leaves and stems of beetroot helps maintain healthy levels of good cholesterol (HDL), which protects the heart, even after a fatty meal.
In addition, betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their color, is an antioxidant that prevents bad cholesterol (LDL) from forming fatty plaques on artery walls, the main cause of strokes and heart attacks.
7. Contributes to the Formation of Babies
In addition to all the other benefits of beets, expectant mothers can benefit from this vegetable because it is rich in folic acid, an essential component for the development of the spinal cord and neural tube of babies.
8. Helps Fight Some Types of Cancer
This property is again due to the pigment betacyanin, an antioxidant capable of slowing the growth of tumors in people with prostate and breast cancer.
In addition, beetroot extract may potentiate the effect of some chemotherapy drugs, such as doxorubicin, in the treatment of malignant tumors of the breast, prostate, and pancreas.
9. Preserves Sexual Health
In addition to improving circulation, and reinforcing the blood supply to the sexual organs, beets provide a large amount of boron, a mineral that participates in the production of testosterone, a hormone related to desire in men and women.
10. Provides a Lot of Vitamins and Minerals
Beetroot leaves contain large doses of vitamin C, which contributes to the strengthening of the immune system and fights premature aging by participating in the production of collagen, which gives firmness and elasticity to the skin. The stalks, in turn, are rich in carotenoids, substances that are precursors of vitamin A, which is important for eye health. Beetroot also contains B vitamins, which protect the nervous system and are necessary to prevent anemia.
This vegetable is also rich in calcium and potassium, which are essential for muscle contraction, and in zinc, which stimulates the body's defenses.
How to Enjoy the Benefits of Beets?
The best way to make the most of the beetroot's properties is to consume all of its parts. For this, in addition to observing the appearance of the root itself, choose vegetables whose leaves and stems have a bright color and a tender texture. The purple part can be eaten raw (as in salads, sandwiches, and juices). If you prefer to cook the beet, the tip is to put it in the pressure cooker with the skin still on, in order to preserve its nutrients.
The leaves can be consumed sautéed or raw and can be used in salads, while the stalks can be used in preparations such as soups, omelets, and savory pies. Another way to consume these parts is in the form of juice, with the recipe of the team of researchers involved in the study that proved the beneficial action of beets on good cholesterol.
To do this, place 9 properly sanitized leaves and beet stalks in the blender, blend with 100 ml of water, strain, and drink right away. If you wish, you can use coconut water or add lemon, pineapple, or ginger.
It is worth remembering that, even growing underground, this vegetable is subject to contamination by pesticides. Therefore, whenever possible, give preference to organic versions, taking advantage of the benefits of beets for your health.