6 Unexpected Health Benefits of Beets

From scrumptious winter salads to the most Instagrammable veggie bowls, beets have gained a superfood status in recent years—and for good reason. This versatile root vegetable packs an incredible nutritional punch. Beets contain loads of folate, iron, vitamin C, manganese, and lesser-known yet powerful health-boosting components like vulgaxanthin and betanin. While the nutrition label may be impressive, it’s well worth knowing what the health benefits of beets are. Here’s what you need to know about this vegetable.

Improved Respiratory Health

Beet juice has been linked to a significant increase in oxygen uptake—in some cases by as much as 16%. This makes beets a natural favorite among athletes and those who experience sluggishness on a plant-based or macrobiotic diet.

Improved Immune System

One of the best health benefits of beets is its high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is perhaps best known for its potential effects on the common cold. While the jury is still out on that, vitamin C has been shown to help the body regenerate healthy tissue. It can also potentially reduce cardiovascular disease and improves the body’s absorption of iron.

Better Sex

Surprisingly, beets have a reputation of being an effective, all-natural aphrodisiac. This can be attributed largely to boron, an element present in beets that boosts libido and enhances the release of sexual hormones.

Improved Eye Health

Beta-carotene, a key component of a number of colorful root vegetables (e.g., carrots), is a form of vitamin A that can benefit eye health. From warding off macular degeneration to preventing cataracts, optimal eyesight is one of the top health benefits of beets.

Digestive Health

Not only do beets introduce a host of valuable nutrients into your digestive system, but their high fiber content also helps keep the system in check. In addition to supporting healthy digestion (one of the rare medicinal treatments doctors were already getting right in the Middle Ages), beet consumption has also been associated with improved liver health.

Detox Support

For those hoping to reset and revitalize, one of the top health benefits of beets is their role in the detoxification process. In conjunction with supporting healthy liver function, the key component of beets has been shown to enhance the second phase of detoxing, in which toxins are removed from the body. This benefit can help lead to healthy skin.