Researchers are finding out more and more about the amazing anti-aging health benefits of a common garden vegetable – beets. Recently, it was found that eating beets, and drinking beet juice, can have some profound benefits to your skin, eyes, heart, and brain. Beets are packed with very high concentrations of antioxidants, carotenoids, folate, fiber, iron, manganese, potassium and Vitamin C. These ingredients in beets have been found in research to have the following protective effects:
1. Eyes: The high carotenoids concentration in beets helps fight age-related macular degeneration and keep vision strong.
2. Brain and heart: Recent research out of London School of Medicine found that beets are full of natural nitrates. These help produce nitric oxide which relax blood vessels and naturally decreases blood pressure. The folates in beets also help to break up homocysteine a dangerous blood protein that figures in heart disease. It also helps increase blood flow to the brain as well as the lower extremities. It’s thought that dementia can start from decreased blood flow to the brain. And, people with poor circulation in their lower extremities could benefit from beets’ natural nitrates. Getting more blood flow to muscles helps older people maintain muscle strength and prevent falls.
3. Fights colon cancer: Beets contain betacyanin – the chemical that gives the vegetable its deep red color. Russian researchers found that the phytonutrients in beets helps detox the entire digestive system – from the liver through the colon – by attaching itself to pollutants and toxins and removing them through elimination. It’s also been shown to improve gallbladder disease and dissolve sludge and stones in both the gallbladder and kidneys. It also helps the body produce glutathione – a master antioxidant which helps fight free radical damage throughout the body.
4. Boosts Exercise Stamina: It was found that the nitrates in beets boosted the endurance/stamina about 16% in people who drank beet juice and exercised.
5. Skin Rejuvenation: As a dermatologist, in addition to the general health boosting properties of beets, I’m particularly impressed by their anti-aging skin benefits. In studies, it was shown that the high levels of folates and antioxidants can decrease the depth and severity of skin wrinkles by 60%! This is best accomplished by eating beets (or drinking beet juice) as well as by applying beet juice topically, directly to skin.