Beets are most commonly known for their bright red coloring and earthy flavors, but they pack more of a nutritional punch than some people may realize.
In a 2019 issue of Critical Reviews of Food Science and Nutrition, researchers argued for incorporating more beets into people’s daily diet due to their affordability, accessibility, and long list of health benefits.
One of the effects you’ll experience when you start eating more beets is benefiting from the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties you get from their dark red pigment, known as betalains.
A powerful pigment
Beets are a powerhouse food in general. They are made up mostly of water but are high in fiber (2.3 grams per beet) and nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin A.
Although these are solid health benefits, what makes beets truly unique to that of other fruits and vegetables is their levels of the natural plant pigment betalain.
The Encyclopedia of Food and Health states that you can only get betalain from beets, cactus pear, pitahaya, and swiss chard, or certain betalain extracts. It is also found in some other plants and leaves, but these aren’t edible to humans.
According to an article from Nutrients, betalain has been linked to reducing inflammation, showing antioxidant properties, and even helping to reduce the risk of cancer in some cases.
In fact, researchers have been so impressed with beet-related health findings that they have also continued to look into the possibility of using beets or beet extract to help fight inflammatory illnesses like liver disease and arthritis.
As you can see, the positive effects of eating beets are substantial, and the only known “negative” side effect of eating betalain from beets is that according to Cleveland Clinic, they might turn your urine a red or pink color!
Incorporating beets into your daily diet
If you’re looking for some different ways to eat beets but don’t exactly love the taste, you can try throwing some in this paleo smoothie recipe.
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