Beets Support Heart, Digestive Health

Patient Expert

My elderly father is really excited that our CSA share included beets last week. Dad made a special request for a Valentine's present last week, asking, "Would you please make me some pickled beets?"

It turns out that consuming beets may really be beneficial for Dad's high blood pressure. Research "Dietary Nitrate Provides Sustained Blood Pressure Lowering in Hypertensive Patients") out of the United Kingdom found that daily consumption of beet juice over a four-week period significantly lowered blood pressure in the study's middle-age participants who had hypertension. The researchers also found that blood vessel function improved by approximately 20 percent among this group.

Here's some other interesting information about beets:

  • Beats get their color from betalins, many of which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The betalin pigments also support the body's detoxification process.
  • Beet fiber may provide special health benefits by protecting both the digestive tract and the cardiovascular system.
  • Beets are an excellent source of folate and a very good source of manganese, potassium and copper. This vegetable also is a good source of fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, iron and vitamin B6.
  • Consuming beets can cause some people's urine and stool to be discolored. However, that shouldn't stop you from eating these veggies.
  • The beet's greens are edible, too Prepare them like spinach or Swiss chard.

Beets are easy to grow. Here are some tips from Burpee Gardens:

So how can you prepare beets? Here are some ideas from Eating Well:

And about that request for pickled beets? Well, here's the recipe I use, courtesy of Alton Brown. I hope you enjoy it as much as Dad does!

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Primary Resources for This Sharepost:

George Mateljan Foundation. (ND). Beets.

Lukits, A. (2015). A juice helps blood pressure. The Wall Street Journal.