Keep Heart Health in Rhythm with Beets

Beets are Rooted in Good Health

Beets seem to just ooze with lifeforce. Beet juice even looks like blood! Beets have been cultivated for thousands of years and were used by ancient civilizations for both food and medicine. Beets were especially valued by the Romans for their medicinal properties and were used to treat a variety of health conditions, including digestive problems and anemia. The use of beets as a natural remedy has continued throughout history and they are now recognized for their potential to benefit heart health. Modern research has confirmed the traditional use of beets as a food and medicine and has revealed new health benefits of this versatile root vegetable.

Beets Boost Vitality

You’re not alone if you are slow to warm up to what beets have to offer as a food. Many of us didn’t meet beets under the best of circumstances; especially if served from a can. But there are so many reasons to gives beets a chance.

Beets are a nutrient-rich vegetable that contain several important nutrients and phytochemicals that have been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. Beets contain high levels of nitrates, which are naturally occurring compounds that have several potential health benefits. One of the primary ways in which nitrates can support heart health is by increasing the production of nitric oxide in the body.

Nitric oxide is a molecule naturally produced in our bodies that helps to dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and support healthy blood pressure. By increasing nitric oxide levels, beets can help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve overall heart health. Research has also suggested that nitrates from beets may help to reduce oxidative stress, improve exercise performance, and enhance recovering from muscle exertion.

Beets - Nutrient Dense by Design

In addition to nitrates and betalains, beets are also a good source of important vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, folate, potassium, magnesium, and other antioxidants, which are all important for maintaining good cardiovascular health. The vitamins and minerals present in beetroot also play a role in regulating blood pressure, combatting inflammation, and keeping the heart muscle strong. For example, potassium helps regulate blood pressure, magnesium helps prevent heart attacks and stroke, and folate helps prevent heart disease by reducing inflammation. These nutrients and phytochemicals, combined with the numerous other health benefits of beets, make them an important food to include in a heart-healthy diet.

Beets’ Betalains Crush Cholesterol

Betalains have been shown to have a significant impact on cholesterol levels. Research studies have found that consuming beets can help to lower both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. This is likely due to the unique combination of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and other phytochemicals found in betalains. These substances work together to reduce oxidative stress, lower inflammation, and inhibit the formation of cholesterol in the body. By consuming beets regularly, individuals can help to support healthy cholesterol levels and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the fiber content in beets can also help to promote healthy cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the gut and removing it from the body.

In addition to reducing these risk factors, betalains also have antioxidant properties that help to protect the heart and blood vessels from oxidative stress. These unique compounds in beets make them a beneficial food choice for those looking to improve heart health and lower their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Still not convinced to give beets another try?

Betalains – Bright, Beautiful, and Boldly Antioxidant

Beets are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for heart health. One of the key phytochemicals in beets, betalains, has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. This is important because chronic inflammation is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The anti-inflammatory effects of betalains are believed to occur through their ability to regulate the expression of certain genes involved in inflammation, as well as by their antioxidant activity.

Betalains, the bright, beautiful, persistent pigments found in beets, have been shown to have positive impacts on heart health. So a few hours consuming beets, no need to be alarmed, worried that you might have a bladder infection or internal bleeding. It’s just the betalains! These colorful compounds deliver incredible antioxidant benefits, protecting cells from free radical damage and promoting overall health. Betalains have been found to reduce both cholesterol and inflammation levels, which are two significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease. But wait, that’s not the only way beets can get to the root of the problem.

Beets Beat Down Inflammation

Beets contain several anti-inflammatory compounds, including betalains and nitrates. Betalains are powerful antioxidants that help to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body and reduce oxidative stress, which is a key factor in the development of inflammation. The nitrates in beets are also believed to have anti-inflammatory effects, as they help to dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Additionally, the fiber we mentioned earlier, and other nutrients in beets can also help to regulate the gut microbiome and promote healthy gut function, which is important for overall health and reducing inflammation throughout the body.

Beets Boost the Biome

Not to be overlooked or undervalued, let’s talk a little more about fiber, because we all know, we can use more of it. Since beets are known to be so rich in insoluble fiber and contain prebiotic properties. Beetroot provides the perfect ingredient to regulate digestion and prevent constipation, as it adds bulk

to the stool and helps move food through the digestive system. Prebiotics are types of fiber that feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut, also known as the microbiome. Our gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of microorganisms that play a crucial role in maintaining our overall health. Research has shown that a healthy gut microbiome is associated with a range of health benefits, including improved digestion, a stronger immune system, and reduced inflammation.

In addition, fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of glucose, which can help prevent spikes in blood sugar and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, fiber helps promote feelings of fullness and satiety, which can be beneficial for weight management. By consuming beetroot as part of a balanced diet, you can help ensure that you are getting the fiber you need to support digestive and overall health.

Fermented Beets – The Next Level of Nutrient Delivery

Pickling and fermenting beets can have several interesting and beneficial effects on the nutritional, digestive, and cardiovascular aspects of health. Pickling and fermenting can help to preserve the nutrients and phytochemicals in beets, making them a good source of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Fermentation can also increase the bioavailability of certain nutrients and antioxidants, such as betalains, which are compounds that have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and fermented beets can add an additional source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can also improve gut health and support digestion. The fermentation process can also break down the tough fibers in beets, making them easier to digest and reducing the risk of digestive issues such as bloating and gas.

It's worth noting that the nutritional and health benefits of pickled and fermented beets may vary depending on the specific preparation method and ingredients used. Beet powders are available commercially, but consumers should use discernment and select brands that use the highest quality manufacturing and fermentation processes available.

Beets Are an Athlete’s Ally

The nutrients found in beetroot, particularly nitric oxide, have been shown to have positive effects on athletic performance, endurance, and muscle recovery. Nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator, relaxing and expanding blood vessels, which can increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles. This increased oxygen delivery can help improve athletic performance and endurance by allowing muscles to work harder and for longer periods of time.

In addition, the improved blood flow can help speed up the recovery process by delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to those tired muscles, reducing muscle soreness, thus improving overall recovery. Several studies have shown that consuming beetroot or beetroot juice before exercise can improve athletic performance, particularly in endurance-based activities such as running and cycling. Beetroot has also been found to improve muscle function and reduce oxidative stress, making it a great choice for athletes and active individuals who want to support their athletic performance and recovery.

You Can’t Beat Beets

In conclusion, beetroot is more than just a flavorful vegetable; it's a powerhouse of nutrients and phytochemicals that can greatly benefit our heart health. We know it may not be your favorite vegetable but if the taste bothers you, try capsules or powders. It can easily be added to a smoothie or stirred into coffee. We promise you won’t taste it! But if you love it like we do, beetroot can be consumed in many other ways, such as roasted, boiled, pickled or raw in salads. And by the way, the greens are tasty and nutritious also! Sauté them or chop the in your soup. After all that, how can you say ‘No’?

By using food as medicine, and incorporating simple goodness nature offers, we can once again prevent and manage heart disease and other health issues. By including beetroot in our diets, we can supply our bodies with the necessary nutrients to keep our hearts functioning optimally. Your heart’s health will be enlivened with gratitude!


Jenny Perez is an herbal educator, researcher, and writer who has been immersed in the field of nutrition and botanical medicine for more than 20 years. Jenny has created curriculum, content, and educational materials for Quantum Nutrition Labs, Premier Research Labs, the American Botanical Council, and Bastyr University’s Botanical Medicine Department where she was Adjunct Faculty, Herb Garden Manager, and Director of the Holistic Landscape Design certificate program.