Health Benefits of Beets

Beets have cancer-fighting benefits

There are several cancer-fighting benefits of beets. Beets certainly have high levels of antioxidants and is an anti-inflammatory, that studies show may help reduce the risk of some cancers. Beets get their deep red color from betacyanin, a plant pigment that research shows might help cells fight off harmful carcinogens. Beets also have high levels of a uniques fiber that may be linked to a lower risk of colon cancer.

Beets lower risk of heart disease

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

Beets are good for eye health

Beets are a good source of lutein, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevents the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. They also contain a bunch of different phytochemicals that research shows can improve the health of your eyes and nerve tissues.

Beets boost endurance

British researchers completed several studies that showed athletes who drank beet juice before working out reported greater endurance and a lower resting blood pressure than those who did not. The performance boost was determined to be credited to the nitrates found in the Beet root. And these aren’t the only energy-boosting benefits of beets. Research testing on older subject suggests that a beet-apple juice mixture could make certain activities (like walking) less exhausting for seniors.

Beets may reduce dementia risk

Beets supply us with nitric acid, which helps increase blood flow throughout the body, especially to your brain. MRI tests done on older people showed us 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.

Beets combat constipation

Fiber helps keep your digestive system running smoothly, and one of the many benefits of beets is that they are full of fiber.

Health Benefits of Beets for Athletes

Beets are a nutrient-dense vegetable that contains vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants. But the most significant health benefits of beets are a result of a group of phytonutrients called betalains. Betalains provide the vegetable’s vibrant red/ violet or yellow colors: yellow beets contain a betalains called betaxanthins (vulgaxanthin, specifically) while red beets contain betalains called betacyanins (betanin, specifically). These nutrients have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support (phase 2 detox steps involving glutathione). Although you can see betalain pigments in other foods such as the stems of chard or rhubarb, most of the health benefits of beets are due to the high concentration of betalains found in the peel and flesh.

Why Beets for Athletes? Nitrogen and Nitrates!

Aside from the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, betalains are also filled with nitrogen. Why is nitrogen important? Nitrogen is an important element for humans. All amino acids necessary for protein formation contain nitrogen as does the DNA in genes. Nitrogen can be sourced from various things, including plants that contain nitrates (celery, spinach, parsley, fennel, cabbage, turnips, etc.) But among all the plant foods, the one with the highest concentration of nitrates is… beets.

Through a chain reaction in the human body, nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a powerful vasodilator. Though the effects are brief (nitric oxide is quickly destroyed in the body), they are substantial. It increases blood flow to skeletal muscles, allowing more oxygen flow and control of muscle contractions.

VO2 max increases endurance and strength (eases mitochondrial load to raise energy production), regulates blood pressure by dilating arteries, it also assists in gastric motility and assists the immune system in fighting off bacteria. It has been known for a long time that the production of nitric oxide (NO) occurs via synthesis from l-arginine, an amino acid. However, as more research has been done over the last 10 years, it has demonstrated a less complicated method for the body to break down nitrate to nitrite via food consumption. The nitrite in food is converted to NO in the acidic environment of the stomach. Unlike the production of NO from l-arginine, the production of NO from nitrate does not require any cofactors and is independent of oxygen.

Beets for Athletes in Endurance Sports

There have been a lot of research on the health benefits of beets for athletes – more specifically, is to take a look at performance and endurance.

Studies have shown that individuals who drank beet juice experience up to a 20% increase in endurance compared to those who did not. Both the group drinking beet juice and a control group who were drinking a placebo were given a series of endurance tests. Those who had taken the beet juice performed for an average of a minute and a half longer than those on the placebo and were shown to cover the same equivalent distance as the other group in less time.

Another study using trained cyclists had participants consume 500mL of beetroot juice (6.2mmols of nitrate) 2 ½ hours before exercise. The participants then proceeded to do two-time trials – a 4km and a 16km ride. In the 4km time trials, there was a 2.8% improvement, and on the 16km time trial, there was a 2.7% improvement in time. The cyclists exhibited a 7-11% improvement in power output with no increase in oxygen cost of exercise. Plasma nitrite levels increased before exercise with the beetroot juice. It should also be noted that resting systolic blood pressure also dropped while having no effect on the diastolic blood pressure.

In another study, subjects ate either 200 grams of baked beetroot or a placebo (cranberry relish) before completing a 5-kilometer treadmill time trial test. The researchers wanted to know if eating 200grams of beetroot (about 2 medium-sized beetroots) before exercise would have any significant improvement in running times. They found that the group who consumed the beetroot had increased running velocity by 3%.

Beets VO2 Max and SuperBeets are Pretty Awesome for Health

Beets VO2 Max is one of my favorite supplement. It boasts all the great benefits of Beets, which includes a boost in circulation in the body, which improves stamina and energy levels. Beets VO2 Max offers a high concentration of beets, which as we know are rich in dietary nitrites and nutrients, but also includes BCAA Amino Acids, Vitamin B12 and L-Arginine.

SuperBeets is marketed as a “superfood” supplement that boosts circulation in the body which is said to help improve stamina and energy levels. It offers a highly concentrated form of beets rich in dietary nitrites and nutrients.

Both of these products use a special, patented drying process for retaining the integrity of nutrients and dietary nitrites from the beets. They both contain dietary nitrites which are then converted by the body into nitric oxide which offers a number of benefits like increasing energy level, supporting healthy blood pressure levels and promoting healthy circulation in the body.

I have been using Beets VO2 Max now for over a month. I take one scoop in the morning to get a boost of energy, which keeps me feeling absolutely fantastic all day, and then I do another 2 scoops before my workout for that extra energy and stamina to power through even the toughest weight training or sprint session.