The World’s Healthiest Foods has some interesting facts about beets that you may not have realized. Beets are nutritious, have cancer-fighting properties, and are effective against inflammation. They can also turn the color of your urine red!

The plant that we know today as beets originally came from North Africa and was first cultivated by the Roman Empire. It spread throughout Europe and was introduced to North American in the 19th century. Beets were an excellent source of sugar. A typical beet has a green leaf and a red root. Beets are closely related to Swiss chard.

Beets are an excellent source of nutrients.

According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, a one-cup serving of beets has 34% of the recommended daily allowance of folate. Other nutrients include:

  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Phosphorous
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron

One of the health benefits of beets is that they are rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene. These antioxidants are also what give beets their red appearance. In addition, beets have anti-inflammatory properties, with some introductory research showing that they can be effective against heart disease.  Beets also show promise with regards to combating type-2 diabetes.

One area where beets have shown to be effective is cancer. Studies using cells from human tumors indicate that the antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in beets are effective in reducing prostate cancer, breast cancer, testicular cancer, and other cancers. However, more research is still needed on this subject.

And yes, the World’s Healthiest Foods notes that for some people who eat beets daily their urine may turn red. Although not a problem by itself, this phenomenon is often a sign of iron deficiency. A doctor’s consult is important.

Want to learn more about beets? Read the full articles here: “What’s New and Beneficial About Beets.”