Eating beets benefitsYou know the superfoods: Kale…chia seeds…pomegranates…beets?

I know, that last one may be shocking but there really are incredible health benefits to eating beets!

So before you pass them by in the grocery produce section, read on. It’s time to start reaping the benefits of eating beets.

1. Natural anti-inflammatory. Inflammation isn’t just the swelling at an injury. Inflammation is your body’s response to attack – any kind of attack. And it’s been linked to everything from wrinkles to heart disease, arthritis to cancer. So maintaining your body’s healthy inflammatory response is vital – which is why it’s the first benefit to eating beets on the list! Beets reduce chronic inflammation in two ways. They’re packed with the nutrient choline, which is good for inflammation. Plus, the betalains that contribute to beets’ distinctive red color are also powerful anti-inflammatories.

2. Antioxidants. By now you know just how important antioxidants are to your overall health. And they're one of our favorite health benefits of eating beets. How they can fight back against free radicals, counter oxidative damage, and prevent disease. And guess which root vegetable is full of antioxidants? But not just common antioxidants that you could get in any fruit or vegetable. No, a benefit of eating beets is the uncommon one – the betalain I just mentioned is a powerful antioxidant linked to the prevention of many of the major, life-threatening conditions.

3. Aphrodisiac. Since the ancient Romans, beets have been considered beneficial as a libido booster, but there’s reason for it. Beets contain nitrates, which increase blood flow – everywhere. In fact, nitrates are often used in artificial libido boosters because they work so well at increasing arousal. But now you can skip the artificial stuff and get the benefits by eating beets!

4. Protect your brain and fight dementia. As you age, blood flow decreases, so you get less blood to the brain. It also means you also get less oxygen to the brain. Less blood and oxygen to the brain have been linked to reduced cognitive abilities and dementia. But since we’ve established that the nitrates in beets increase blood flow everywhere that means your brain, too!

5. Cancer prevention. Not only are beets loaded with powerful and rare antioxidants, beet juice may slow the growth of certain cancer-causing compounds. So drink up!

6. Diabetes. Among the antioxidants in beets is alpha-lipoic acid, which helps you battle diabetes in three ways. First, and probably most important, it helps lower blood glucose levels. But it has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative damage in diabetes patients. So if you already have diabetes, or if you’re trying to prevent diabetes, talk to your doctor about the benefits of eating beets.

7. Energy levels and performance. You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of beets when it comes to energy and performance. Yes, professional cyclists and swimmers in studies of beet juice have seen statistically significant changes in their performance. However, the same factors that increased professional athletes’ performance may help people who are struggling with the activities of daily living. If you don’t have the energy to do what you need to do – if that’s pedal faster or climb the stairs with your groceries – there’s no reason beet juice won’t help give you the energy you need to achieve your goals.

8. Heart health. So many superfoods end up at heart health, and beets are no different. This might be on the most important health benefits of eating beets. If you’re concerned about blood pressure and the cardio impacts of high blood pressure know this: in one study, a small serving of beet juice reduced resting blood pressure by 2%. And other studies have shown similar results, basically locking in beet juice as a good bet when it comes to heart health.

9. Weight loss. The weight loss benefit of eating beets is easy – beets are high in fiber, which keeps you full, and low in calories, so you can eat a nice-sized portion, which helps keep you full. So looking to lose weight? Think beets.

Sure, there are other, better known vegetables. But given the impressive benefits of eating beets, maybe it’s time to put down the potato every now and then and pick up a beet!