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The humble beet, when steamed, boiled, roasted, pickled, borscht’d—but especially served raw—is nutritious and offers many health benefits.
Why Beets Are Healthy
If you’ve never considered beets for breakfast, snacks, or potluck food, these facts may spark your imagination:
Research has demonstrated that eating beets, especially raw, or drinking beet juice can lower blood pressure, and improve both exercise performance and blood flow to the brain—probably because of the high concentration of nitrates in beets.
Our bodies eventually convert nitrates to nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes and opens blood vessels.
Note: The betalain pigments in raw or cooked red beets may cause the urine or stool to turn pink or even bright red for a day or two. The amount of excreted pigment depends on the pH of the stomach and how long the food remained there.
Margaret Boyles is a longtime contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She wrote for UNH Cooperative Extension, managed NH Outside, and contributes to various media covering environmental and human health issues. Read More from Margaret Boyles