3. Beets Reduce Blood Pressure
Keeping your blood pressure in check is one of the ways you can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other heart diseases.
Nitrates, which are found naturally in many vegetables, have a blood pressure lowering effect when regularly consumed. Nitrates convert into nitric oxide after ingestion, a signalling molecule that tells the muscles in the arteries to relax.
Beets are among the richest sources of dietary nitrates, and as such, has been studied for its impact on heart health. In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in Nutrition Journal, healthy volunteers who drank beetroot juice had lower systolic blood pressure levels just six hours after drinking it. In another study, eating beetroot bread helped reduce diastolic blood pressure in healthy men.
The cardioprotective properties of beets work best when eaten raw rather than cooked. And because the blood pressure lowering effect of beets only last so long, so you’ll need to eat plenty of beets to achieve long lasting results.
4. Beets Enhance Athletic Performance
Dietary nitrates also interact with the vast network of mitochondrial cells found throughout the body.
Mitochondria are responsible for producing and converting energy to living cells, and consuming nitrates has been found to make mitochondrial function more efficient by reducing the oxygen cost of rigorous physical activity. This means that the less oxygen used during exercise, the greater the endurance.
In a 2009 study published in Applied Physiology, supplementing with 500 ml of beetroot juice per day for six days increased the time to exhaustion during intense exercise by 15% to 25%.