Aside from the obvious fact that they’re delicious and versatile, beets are a great source of heart-healthy compounds and phytonutrients. According to registered nutritionist Ella Davar, RD, CDN, “beets are high in nitrates, which turn into nitrite and nitric oxide,” which can help support healthy blood pressure.
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2013 found that “supplementing with inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice was linked to significant reductions in systolic blood pressure,” she told mindbodygreen.
Other studies have specifically linked beet juice to athletics. Anecdotally, some people have found that beetroot juice is good for muscle recovery, while others, according to Davar, “may also experience improved athletic performance and exercise endurance”.
“Beets contain a lot of phytonutrients,” says Davar, “called anthocyanins and betalaine. They aid detoxification by increasing enzymes.” While the body’s natural detoxification processes (also known as the liver) are up to the challenge in most cases, these nutrients support the function of this crucial organ. Similar phytonutrients are found in pomegranates and other deep red fruits and vegetables.