Abby Moore •
Everyone agrees that beets are vibrant in color and have a high nutritional value, but very few actually find the taste and texture appealing. It is possible, however, to reap the many health and post-exercise benefits of beets without sitting down to a whole plate of sliced beets… with beetroot powder.
Although conventional nutritional advice usually dictates consuming whole foods rather than extracts for the higher nutritional value of whole foods, when it comes to beets, beetroot powder may actually be better!
So why beets or beetroot in the first place?
Here are the scientifically published, peer reviewed, and generally accepted benefits of beetroot powder:
- Promotes muscle recovery after endurance exercise through reduction of inflammation
- Supports circulation, arterial function, and cardiovascular fitness
- Attenuates markers of inflammation
- Provides anti-oxidant activity with potassium, selenium, magnesium, iron, zinc, folate, and vitamin
- Supports central nervous system health
- Promotes normalization of blood pressure
- Supports liver health
Ok beets and beetroot are good!
So here are some creative ways to get your beets or beetroot on!
Whole beets are found in most grocery stores' produce aisles year-round, but the cool-weather crops will be freshest in the spring or fall. You can juice, roast, pickle, or chop them for smoothies. You can create beet pancakes, beet salads, or a vegan beetroot curry.
Beetroot powder can be found in health food stores or drugstores and can be added to other whole foods in a myriad of ways.
What is beetroot powder?
Beetroot powder is made from dehydrated beets ground into a fine powder, yielding a more concentrated form of the nutrients contained therein. Beetroot powder with water and fiber removed compared to whole beets contains more nitrates and antioxidants than fresh beets per volume consumed. And powder has the added benefit of ease of preparation… no washing, chopping, or staining your clothes!
Generally, beetroot powder also contains more nitrates and antioxidants than fresh beets. Plus, you don't have to worry about washing, chopping, or staining your clothes with beet juice.
Benefits of beetroot:
1. May enhance athletic performance and recovery
Beets and beet juice may support muscle recovery.
These root vegetables are high in nitrates, which turns into nitrite and nitric oxide, registered dietitian Ella Davar, R.D., CDN, explains. These compounds support heart health by enhancing circulation and arterial function, which may promote cardiovascular fitness (aka keep you from wheezing while working out).
Studies suggest that breathing easily throughout a workout—thanks to beetroot supplementation—can enhance endurance and even athletic performance.
2. Helps manage inflammation
"Fruits and vegetables are really the foundation of calming inflammation in the body, but beets have some unique compounds that specifically help support health in this way," Hultin says. Along with being rich in potassium, selenium, magnesium, iron, zinc, folate, and vitamin C, they also contain a healthy amount of antioxidants, she explains.
According to one study, beetroots contain about 30 different betalains, which are a type of antioxidant, that help fight free radicals and manage inflammation.
3. Supports brain health
The same mechanisms in beetroots that enhance athletic performance also help to support the brain.
"Nitric oxide actually helps relax the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and helping blood flow more easily through the body," Hultin says, "and that includes fueling the brain with energy and oxygen."
When blood oxygen levels are out of whack (read: low), it can impair cognitive functioning and mental clarity. Incorporating beetroot powder into a regular diet may help keep these levels in check.
4. Helps maintain healthy blood pressure
If the point hasn't been made clear yet, the nitrates in beetroots are really good for your health.
A 2018 scientific review, published in the journal Biomolecules, said the effects of nitric oxide from beetroots can lower systolic blood pressure in people with hypertension. It's also an easy-to-find, low-cost supplementation option for people with high blood pressure, the study adds. These benefits make it one of the healthiest carbs to eat, according to registered dietitian Nour Zibdeh, M.S., RDN.
5. May support liver health
The antioxidants in beets, like betalains and anthocyanins, help to support the body's natural cleaning or detoxifying process. In other words, they can help flush out unwanted properties in the body, in the same way peeing can.
These antioxidants support detoxification (mainly in the liver) by increasing enzymes including glutathione and S-transferase. When the liver is able to detoxify chemicals and toxins more effectively, then your body is better able to balance your hormones, keep your cholesterol levels in check, and improve your energy levels.
Want the benefits of beetroot without the hassle of preparation?
Runners Daily Vitamin contains beetroot extract!
Get your beetroot on with Runners Essentials Daily Vitamin Formula
A daily vitamin formula for runners and endurance athletes to promote recovery and help fight inflammation
Beetroot is an easy way to pack in the concentrated benefits of beets, like enhanced athletic performance, blood pressure and inflammation management, and brain support.