Perhaps the most underappreciated food in the history of eating is the beet. If the color and the flavor aren’t enough to eat them, beets are a powerhouse of nutrients that will guide you on your path to optimal health.
Historically as a source of food, the beet was easily grown most of the year, had long storability and adapted well to a wide variety of climates. From the earliest times of medicine, beets have been used to address:
- Kidney dysfunction
- Skin and dandruff complaints
- Heart disease
- Anemia and blood disorders
- Poor circulation
- Liver and gall bladder conditions
- Alertness and energy issues
- Sexual performance
Today, the beet is still used as a “functional” food to support a wide range of health concerns and beet powder is an active ingredient in multiple types of nutritional supplements. However, beets and beet powders can vary significantly in their effectiveness. So, be sure you are comfortable with manufacturer of the beet juice powder.
The most popular beet science studies focus on the beet’s ability to help boost stamina, improve cognitive function through enhanced blood flow to the brain, and support heart health.
Beets have become the “edge” in competitive elite sport and were recently consumed by some athletes in the 2012 Olympic Games improving their performance by as much as 16%. This fact alone has piqued serious interest in beets.
While they help a “beeting” heart, or are effective as ancient aphrodisiacs, beets will also detoxify your body and with their “beeutiful” color, they are potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory providers. Not only are they powerful anti-cancer proponents, but they can rejuvenate cellular function in ways that are not typical in most vegetables.
But there is a beet more! Beets are rich in folate and boron to help you age more gracefully.
Arguably, the most valuable contribution that beets make to modern wellbeing comes from a surprising newcomer. The miracle molecule called nitric oxide or N-O in beets has captured the attention of athletes as well as doctors! It is the subject of over 130,000 published scientific papers and even has a medical journal called Nitric Oxide devoted solely to the understanding of its protective role in human health and disease.
The central feature of a number of chronic health disorders, especially heart disease, is the inability to make or respond to N-O. N-O is the master of regulation and controls blood flow to every organ and tissue. If it is not adequately available to perform its many roles, then the body starts to fail at every level.
When N-O is created and released in the body, it penetrates cell membranes and sends off crucial signals inside every cell, tissue, organ and system. It gets the blood flowing!
Here is a quick example of the effectiveness of the N-O in beets:
At least one third of Americans have confirmed high blood pressure (hypertension) and many more do not even know they have it. In the American Heart Association journal, Hypertension, researchers showed that drinking 500 ml of beetroot juice (approximately 16 ounces or 2 cups) lowered blood pressure within an hour. After 3-4 hours, blood pressure was substantially reduced. Furthermore, the pressure lowering effect remained for up to 24 hours after consuming the juice.
The Power of N-O
The N-O in beets are known to benefit the following conditions which are low in N-O:
- Arthritis—Increases the circulation and decreases the nerve irritation and inflammation in joints resulting in pain.
- Altitude sickness—Increases circulation and oxygen availability.
- Asthma—Widens the “hyper-responsive” airways, calming the immune reaction and relaxing muscles and nerves.
- Cancer—supports treatment by increasing blood flow and oxygen around the tumor, sensitizes cancer cells to radiation, limits DNA damage from radiation and boosts cancer-killing ability of immune cells.
- COPD—(chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) – improves lung function and eases breathlessness.
- Type 2 Diabetes—Supports Insulin function which helps prevent insulin resistance and the circulation complications that result from it.
- Erectile Dysfunction—Relieves ED as it is actually a circulation problem and an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease.
- Eye Disease—Increases ocular blood flow and relieves intraocular pressure (glaucoma).
- Insomnia—Maintains deep or “recovery sleep” (REM) especially with aging.
This is just a small sketch of the many attributes of beets. There are pages more of health issues that have responded beautifully to the beet. It just beats me why more people aren’t eating beets or drinking beet juice!