Impressive Health Benefits of Beets (and a Few Potential Risks)

Beets are packed with healthy nutrients, including calcium, iron, potassium and protein. But they can also have some surprising side effects...

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Health benefits of beets
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Beets may help fight cancer

There are multiple cancer-fighting health benefits of beets. Beets contain high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents that studies show may help reduce the risk of some cancers. They get their striking red colour from betacyanin, a plant pigment that some preliminary research indicates might help defend cells against harmful carcinogens. Also, high levels of a unique fibre found in beets may be linked to a lower colon cancer risk.

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Beets can lower risk of heart disease

Beets are a good source of folate and betaine. These nutrients act together to help lower blood levels of homocysteine, which can increase your risk of heart disease by causing artery-damaging inflammation.

Find out how to improve heart health in six easy steps.

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Eye health benefits of beets

Beet greens are a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that helps protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. They also contain a wide variety of phytochemicals that may help improve the health of your eyes and nerve tissues.

Here’s how to maintain healthy eyes at every age.

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Health benefits of beets - beet juice
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Beets boost endurance

British researchers conducted studies that found athletes who drank beet juice mixed with a little apple juice before working out reported better endurance and a lower resting blood pressure than those who did not. The performance boost is thought to be from the nitrates found in the root. Additional research suggests that a beet-apple juice mixture could make certain activities (like walking) less exhausting for seniors.

Find out what happens to your body when you start walking 10,000 steps a day.

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Beets reduce dementia risk

Beets produce nitric acid, which helps increase blood flow throughout your body, including to your brain. MRIs done on older adults showed that after eating a high-nitrate diet that included beet juice, the subjects had more blood flow to the white matter of their frontal lobes.

Here’s how to spot the early signs of dementia.

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Health benefits of beets - Chopping fresh beets
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Beets combat constipation

Fibre helps keep your digestive system running smoothly, and beets are chock full of it.

Here are the high-fibre foods worth adding to your cart.

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A potential health risk of beets: They may contribute to kidney stones

Despite all these health benefits of beets, there are also some risks. If you’re prone to kidney stones, you might want to eat beet greens with caution. They’re high in oxalates, which can form small crystals and contribute to the development of kidney stones.

Discover more secrets your urologist wants you to know.

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Suffering gout foot pain
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Beets could also cause gout

That high oxalate content can also contribute to a health condition called gout, a type of arthritis that develops when too much uric acid builds up in the body.

Don’t miss our ultimate guide to healthy grocery shopping.

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Holding cut beet and beet juice glass
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Keep in mind, beets may discolour your stool

You might find beets help you go to the bathroom, but don’t be alarmed if your urine or stool is pink or red. It’s not blood; and is actually harmless.

Now that you know the risks and benefits of beets, find out what your poop can reveal about your health.

The Healthy
Originally Published on The Healthy

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