This Valentine’s Day, while hearts symbolize romance, let’s not forget the literal heart health benefits of a certain ruby-red vegetable. Beets, nature’s own ‘natural viagra,’ offer a bouquet of vasodilation and nitric oxide boosting properties that can enhance athletic performance and kindle the flames of passion.

Slices of Beetroot Vegetable on Dirt Ground

Beets’ Antioxidant Boost: Betalains

Beets are powerhouse sources of antioxidants as well as a variety of additional vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to inflammation, aging, and chronic diseases. Beets are especially rich in betalains, nitrogenous pigments that give beets their characteristic color and have antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-cancer, and anti-tumor properties.1,2 Betalains also modulate the activity of enzymes involved in detoxification and inflammation, helping your body get rid of harmful substances and reduce swelling and pain.

red beverage in mason jars person holding red and black heart shaped cake

How Beets Help Your Heart Beat 

But beets are not only good for your immune system and general health. They also contain a variety of compounds that facilitate nitrogen metabolism through nitric oxide (NO) binding, nitrite reduction, and nitrate (NOD) formation.3These compounds enable beets to have potent vasodilating effects that benefit the vascular and cardiovascular systems.

Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels, which allows more blood flow and oxygen delivery to your muscles and organs.45 This can improve your:

In fact, studies have shown that consuming beet juice or beetroot supplements can enhance exercise performance and reduce fatigue in athletes and healthy individuals.

red and black abstract painting a close up of a green plate red and black abstract painting

Beets Boost Your Bedside Manner!

Beets can also have positive effects on your:

Nitric oxide is a key molecule involved in the regulation of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which affect your emotions, motivation, and pleasure.45 Nitric oxide also plays a role in the formation of new blood vessels and nerve cells in the brain, which can improve your memory, learning, and creativity. Furthermore, nitric oxide is essential for erectile function in men and clitoral engorgement in women, as it stimulates the relaxation of smooth muscle and increases blood flow to the genital area. This is why beets are sometimes called “Nature’s Viagra”, as they can enhance sexual arousal and performance.

Beets: Can’t Beat ‘Em!

As you can see, beets are a remarkable superfood that can benefit your health and fitness in many ways. And the best part is that they are easy to incorporate into your diet, as they can be eaten raw, cooked, juiced, or powdered. You can also find many delicious recipes that use beets as a main ingredient or a side dish, such as salads, soups, hummus, smoothies, and cakes. So next time you go to the grocery store or the farmers market, don’t forget to pick up some beets and enjoy their amazing benefits.

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1 Čanadanović-Brunet 2011.
2 Ravichandran et al., 2011.
Eriksson et al., 2019.
4 Lidder & Webb, 2012.
5 Broeder et al., 2021

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