Why You Should Be Eating More Beets
Whether you're juicing them or roasting them, you can't go wrong with this superfood.
It's time you gave beets another try.
Perhaps because of their decidedly earthy taste and alarmingly red hue, beets haven't always fared well on the dinner table circuit. But now, thanks in large part to new research, the misunderstood root vegetable is experiencing a comeback. Why? Well, they're exceptionally good for you.
As Charlotte Caperton-Kilburn, a registered dietitian and director of sports nutrition at the College of Charleston, recently explained to Men's Journal, beets are rich in naturally occurring nitrates. These chemicals dilate blood vessels, which can lower blood pressure and increase oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain and muscles. Effects of this include more energy, stamina and brainpower. They're also rich in insoluble fiber, which can help keep you regular and prevent constipation.
"They're definitely a performance food—they're good for your heart, your mind, and your muscles," Dawn Jackson-Blatner, RDN, a Chicago-based dietitian and the author of The Superfood Swap, explained to Prevention.
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In one study, cyclists who drank beet juice could pedal hard 15% longer than cyclists who didn't drink beet juice. The study's author, Dr. Andy Jones, told Health that it takes about three to five beets to get a performance boost, and peak nitrate levels occur two to three hours after you eat or drink them. So keep that in mind for the next time you hit the gym.
As for the best way to prepare your new favorite veggie, aside from juicing, we're partial to roasting. Simple peel them and pop them in the oven with a sprinkle of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper and enjoy!