Why Nearly Zero Sugar Organic Beets Should Be Part of Your Daily Diet
Organic beets deserve a place in your everyday diet for six important reasons:
- They help promote a healthy normal inflammatory response.
- They help promote healthy blood flow throughout your body and brain.
- They support your body’s natural detoxification processes.
- They support immune and cellular health.
- They promote brain neuroplasticity, or the ability to form new neural pathways.
- They’re high in valuable nutrients: vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese.
Why All Nitrates and Nitrites Don’t Behave the Same Way in Your Body
The antioxidants in beets help protect against nitrite’s negative effects. Beets are an excellent source of nitrates, which account for many of their potential health benefits.
But you’ve probably also heard that processed meats like bacon, hot dogs and ham contain nitrates, too, and they’re potentially hazardous to your health.
What’s the difference?
All nitrates convert to nitrites in your body. Nitrites are found in the preservative sodium nitrite that’s added to processed meats, and they can also occur naturally in drinking water, fertilizer, sewage treatment facilities and septic systems.
Here’s the problem with nitrites in cured or processed meats… When you heat or cook these foods, the nitrites can convert into nitrosamines, a dangerous substance. For that reason, Dr Mercola recommend avoiding any meat with sodium nitrite listed on the package label.
The naturally occurring nitrates in beets also convert to nitrites when you eat them by the bacteria in your mouth, but the similarities end there.
Beets contain high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients that provide a protective effect against the health-harming actions of nitrites. Thanks to these valuable nutrients, the converted nitrites in beets don’t pose a threat to your health.
Unlike the nitrites in processed meats, fertilizers and drinking water, the naturally occurring nitrates in beets offer health benefits.
Beets contain one of the highest levels of nitrates found in foods, and that’s a real plus. When you eat beets, your body converts these nitrates into nitric oxide, or NO, through what’s known as the ‘nitrate-to-nitrite-to-nitric oxide (NO) pathway.’
And NO just happens to be vital for life…
Nitric Oxide: The Key to Healthy Blood Flow and Other Potential Benefits
Nitrates in beets support healthy blood flow in your body and brain.
If you were to look inside your blood vessels, you would see a thin lining of cells called the endothelium.
These endothelial cells line your entire circulatory system, from your heart to the smallest of your capillaries.
Inside these cells, a soluble gas called nitric oxide, or NO, is continually produced from the amino acid, L-arginine.
This gas, NO, is an important signaling molecule in every cell of your body. It plays an important role in:
- Supporting your cardiovascular health.
- Promoting your normal endothelial function.
- Promoting healthy dilation of your veins and arteries to support healthy blood flow.
- Protecting your cells’ powerhouses, or mitochondria.
- Preventing your red blood cells from sticking together.
- Nitric oxide helps your blood vessels relax and increases the diameter of your vessels for improved blood flow.
Healthy blood flow is essential for supplying your brain and organs with oxygen and nutrients. Your blood nourishes and oxygenizes your immune system and muscles, and helps keep your heart beating. Just as importantly, your blood carries away wastes and carbon dioxide.
Nitric Oxide – and healthy blood flow – both are essential for energy production and overall well-being
Obviously, without healthy blood flow, the functions of your cells and organs, including those of your brain, might be compromised.
Healthy Blood Flow and Your Brain
Studies show that beet juice with exercise helps deliver more oxygen to the brain
Your brain is one of the most oxygen-demanding organs in your body. Because nitric oxide travels to the parts of your body requiring oxygen, your brain can potentially benefit when you have abundant NO.
A recent study of 26 men and women aged 55 and older examined how beet juice affects brain health when combined with exercise.
This group of individuals did not regularly exercise before the study. During the study, the participants walked for 50 minutes on a treadmill one hour after drinking beet juice, three times a week.
What did the researchers discover at the end of the six-week study?
Combining beet juice with exercise increased blood flow and delivered more oxygen to brain tissues.
The group consuming beet juice had much higher levels of nitrate and nitrite in their bodies than the placebo group after exercise.
The group who exercised and drank beet juice had brain networks that more closely resembled those of younger adults, suggesting greater neuroplasticity, or the ability to form new neural pathways.
These findings just confirm what Dr Mercola repeatedly state – your diet matters for your brain health, especially as you grow older.
Add a scoop to your daily smoothie or mix with water or other beverages for a nitrate-rich, energy boost!