Whether you love or hate beets, there's no denying their nutritional value. Beets are known for their leafy greens and red roots. If you're adopting healthier eating habits, this is one item to add to your weekly shopping list.

Here are some of the nutritional benefits of beets and various ways to prepare this vegetable.

Nutritional benefits of eating beets

1. Lowers blood pressure

Taking medication, increasing physical activity, and decreasing your sodium intake can lower high blood pressure. But there are also other ways to get the same result. Beets are high in nitrates, which may help lower blood pressure. If you don't like the taste of the cooked vegetable, beet juice offers a similar health benefit. Beets are also a good source of potassium, which can offset some of the effects of high salt intake. This plays a role in lowering blood pressure, decreasing the risk of heart disease, and decreasing the risk of stroke.

2. Good source of folate

Beets are a good source of folate, a B vitamin that can help prevent neural tube development in early pregnancy and lower the risk of birth defects. If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, your doctor may recommend folate supplements, called folic acid. You can also add folate to your diet naturally by eating beets.

3. Increases stamina and energy

If you're feeling a little sluggish and need an energy boost, eating beets can help. Beets are a healthy carbohydrate that can energize you and enhance your physical performance. The nitrate in beets improves oxygen use. Beets have a high water content, so snacking on beets during exercise or as a preworkout snack helps keep your body hydrated.

4. Improves eye health

Your eyesight can decline with age. But eating beets can lower the risk for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Beet greens are an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These are antioxidants that can promote eye health and delay the progression of eye diseases.

5. Lowers risk of dementia

Cognitive decline also increases with age. Brain puzzles help sharpen your mind and thinking. You might also notice a difference by adding beets to your diet. Increasing blood flow to your brain can protect your cognitive health. Beets contain nitric acid. This can increase blood flow to your brain and other parts of your body.

6. Improves bowel activity

Stress and diet can affect your bowel activity and might trigger constipation. The good news is that eating cleanly and adding more vegetables to your diet naturally improves constipation. This is because fruits and vegetables such as beets are a good source of fiber. Fiber improves your gut health and keeps you regular.

7. Fights cancer

Eating beets may lower your risk of cancer. This is because beets have essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. The vegetable contains vitamin C, which is a powerful natural antioxidant and immune-boosting vitamin. It also contains vitamin A and vitamin B complex. Beets get their color from a powerful phytonutrient that can reduce the risk of cancer. Plus, the vegetable has anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce the risk of chronic inflammatory illnesses.

8. Healthier joints and bones

Eating beets may also improve the health of your joints and bones. This calcium-rich vegetable promotes stronger bones. Beets contain minerals like copper, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. These support collagen production and joint flexibility.

Beet recipes

Drinking beet juice is one way to benefit from the nutritional value of this vegetable. But if you want to experiment with a few delicious beet recipes, here are five options you can try.

  • Beet and feta burgers. If you're a vegetarian, or simply looking for a burger recipe that doesn't include beef, here's one delicious option. This recipe contains beets, rolled oats, feta cheese, and coconut oil. Serve the burger on the bread of your choice and add your own toppings. View the recipe.
  • Roasted beets and rice salad. As long as you have balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, sugar, crushed rosemary, salt and pepper, rice, and feta cheese in your kitchen, you can create a yummy salad for lunch or dinner. View the recipe.
  • Breakfast root cake. You can eat beets any time of the day, including breakfast. To get your day off to a healthy start, create this beet dish using staples around your kitchen. You’ll need an onion, garlic cloves, eggs, salt and pepper, cayenne, and cumin. Other ingredients include cilantro, beets, carrots, celery root, feta cheese, potatoes, and sunflower seeds. View the recipe.
  • Beet, goat cheese, and walnut tart. If you’re looking for a dinner idea that's quick and simple, it might be a good night to prepare a tart for your family. It's a delicious meal that requires little effort. Prepare the dough using all purpose flour, salt, unsalted butter, and water. Other ingredients include dry white wine, eggs, heavy cream, goat cheese, and walnuts. View the recipe.
  • French peasant beets. You’ll need whole beets with greens to prepare this recipe. It also calls for Swiss chard, shallots, white wine, and Bucheron cheese. Serve with crusty bread, and you’ll have a delicious meal for two. View the recipe.

Next steps

Beets are a healthy choice for a snack or a meal, whether you’re preparing the roots, the leafy greens, or both. Rich in minerals, vitamins, and nutrients, this vegetable has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to ward off cancer and chronic illnesses. They may also help protect your eyes and bones.

You might want to skip beets if you have a history of kidney stones or gout. Beet greens are high in oxalate, a natural substance found in many plants. Oxalate can cause small crystals to form in the kidneys and increase the amount of uric acid in your body. This can trigger a gout attack. Talk to your doctor about healthy ways to incorporate beets into your diet.