For a lot of us, they are the one thing at the salad bar we stay far away from. For others, they are a highly nutritious superfood used to enhance their lives. What’s the deal with beets? Lets get to the “root” of it.
Beets are highly nutritious root vegetables, containing high levels of Vitamin C, Iron & Folate. They are also packed full of fiber, containing almost 3 grams per cup, which not only helps with digestion but also satiety.
Beets are considered a “prebiotic” food. Prebiotics foods contain a certain type of fiber that you cannot digest, but your gut bacteria can. The best way to think of prebiotics are that they are food for your gut, or a fertilizer to help them grow and flourish.
One of the biggest benefits of beets are their high concentration of nitrates, which convert into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels in the body, allowing increased blood flow and may help lower blood pressure. It has become pretty popular as a sports supplement, often times in preworkout powders,for its ability to increase bloodflow into the muscles, contributing to the “pump” that all of us are looking for during a good weightlifting session. The increased bloodflow also means increased oxygen into the muscles, helping with endurance, energy levels, and overall exercise performance.
While eating raw beets or in a cooked form does provide plenty of benefits(in particular if you are using them for their prebiotic properties), a concentrated powder or pill might be a better option if you are looking for the nitric oxide and exercise-boosting benefits. As always, remember to chat with your doctor before you begin adding new supplements into your regiment.