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The many health benefits and few minor side effects of eating beets

Beets are root vegetables that are known for their bright colors, earthy flavors, and their ability to stain.

Beets in a salad
Beets in a salad. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos
Beets in a salad. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Beets are root vegetables that are known for their bright colors, earthy flavors, and their ability to stain. They have many health benefits for the body but also come with a few side effects.

According to this Yahoo health and lifestyle article, beets are full of essential vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds (with medicinal values). They are high in antioxidants and offer “anti-inflammatory” properties.

Beets help lower blood pressure

Beets tend to lower blood pressure because they are rich in nitrates. When one consumes nitrates from food, the body converts them into nitric oxide, which relaxes and dilates the blood vessels, and thus lowers one’s blood pressure; moreover, the nitrates in the beets boost and foster brain health.

As a result, beets help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and they help increase blood circulation and oxygen transport to the brain.

Cooking beets in the kitchen
Cooking beets in the kitchen. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Beets help the immune system

Beets help support the immune system. There have been reports that several of the compounds in beets might have “anticancer properties” as well. For endurance athletes, eating beets and drinking beet juice helps increase their athletic abilities and it enhances their stamina.

The liver does the heavy work of cleaning blood and detoxing one’s body, and by eating beets, one can lighten the liver’s workload.

Beets help fight inflammation thanks to their pigments called betalains, and overall, they help improve digestive health. By eating a diet rich in fiber, one can attain “healthy guy bacteria.” Fiber is only found in plant foods such as beets, broccoli, beans, avocados, and Brussels sprouts.

Minor side effects of eating beets

While beets are healthy, for the most part, they come with a few side effects for some people.

Anybody that has a higher risk of developing kidney stones should limit their beet consumption, and eat them in moderation. Beets are rich in oxalates, and that can lead to kidney stones. 

In addition, if one is not accustomed to eating beets, a rather alarming thing is that they can turn urine and bowel movement red, orange, or pink on the following day, and this discoloration is known as beeturia.

Beet benefits by color

The roots of beets come in many different colors such as red, purple, or yellow, as well as in beet greens. Each color and part have its own distinct benefits: the red and purple beets are high in the pigment betalains, which have strong antioxidant properties.

In addition to beets, the beet greens also offer health benefits as well. They are edible, so they should not be thrown out. The beet greens have nitrates in them, as well as lutein (which has been dubbed as the “eye vitamin”) and zeaxanthin, both of which are good for eye health and vision. Zeaxanthin protects eyes from the harmful effects of oxidation and light.

Beet greens in a balanced meal plate
Beet greens in a balanced meal plate. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Personal benefits of eating a diet with beets

This journalist has been eating beets and beet greens in his diet regularly for the last two weeks (in each meal), and he has seen major improvements in his health and wellbeing.

My blood pressure has reduced, and my stamina in the gym has been boosted; moreover, consuming beets has helped me lose some weight as well as a natural positive side effect.

The Verdict

Overall, beets are nutritious and diverse foods that contain minerals, different vitamins, antioxidants, and they are high in fiber. Eating beets helps protect one’s heart, brain and eye health, and they lower people’s high blood pressures, while they support healthy gut bacteria in the digestive system and improve endurance for workouts.

The only downside is that people at risk for kidney stones should watch their intake of beets, and they are known to cause beeturia.

Try adding organic beets or beet greens to your next meal… you will not be disappointed.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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