Every once in a while, a vegetable has a moment. A moment wherein the vegetable in question becomes so popular, so lauded by dieticians, doctors, and celebrity endorsements as the new miracle food, that were all clamoring after it in supermarkets. Kale has had its moment, and it seems that beetroot may be having its own. So heres the big question does beetroot deserve a place in our diets? Absolutely. And heres why:

1. Beets promote oxygen delivery.

Our bodies convert nitrates into nitric oxide, a molecule that is essential to the delivery and utilization of oxygen in the bloodstream. Once converted, nitric oxide works to help blood vessels dilate, improving circulation. As such, beetroot has become a popular choice for active individuals and professional athletes alike.

2. Beets reduce blood pressure.

In a number of studies, the consumption of nitric oxide has been shown to reduce blood pressure, benefitting the cardiovascular system, and the body as a whole: when more oxygen is made available to cells, whether in the heart, brain, or muscle, the body hums along more efficiently. While beetroot alone cannot eliminate or treat cardiovascular disease, individuals with high blood pressure may benefit from including nitrate-rich vegetables in their diets.

For those at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke (those who are overweight, obese, or those who have high blood pressure, hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, or a family history of heart disease), consuming beetroot and carrying out a healthy living plan one that incorporates caloric maintenance, fat regulation, and exercise is a fantastic way to reduce the risk of disease and cardiovascular incident.

3. Beets help regulate digestion and promote satiety.

Beets provide fiber, promoting healthy digestion. While beetroot juice in particular has experienced a rise in popularity, its always best to consume any fruit or vegetable in its whole form. Choosing the whole vegetable, rather than a blended or juiced form, means that youll be consuming more fiber and a larger volume of food, both of which promote satiety. In other words, youll stay fuller, longer. One cup of whole beetroot contains 60 calories and 3.8 grams of fiber, whereas one cup of beet juice contains 110 calories and 0 grams of fiber, as the fiber is lost in the juicing process.

Luckily, incorporating whole beets into your diet is much easier than juicing them. Steamed or roasted beets make a great side dish, and canned or pickled beets are great additions to salads. Some recipes even incorporate raw beets, shaving them atop salads in the way you might a carrot.

Although beet juice has been largely applauded for its high nitrate content, its potency is largely thanks to the fact that a large number of beets have been concentrated into a smaller serving size. As such, do be aware of the calorie content: because a single cup of juice has twice the calories and carbohydrate of a single cup of whole beets, its easy to go overboard on calories and gain weight by drinking too much of it, which is in turn bad for your health. As mentioned below, (see fiber) eating the whole vegetable is beneficial in regards to satiety and digestive health. While beets are one option for consuming nitrate, other nitrate-rich vegetables include lettuce, spinach, radishes, or celery.

4. Beets support DNA maintenance.

Beets contain a high amount of folate, a vitamin that plays an essential role in the production of DNA and RNA, and in maintaining healthy neurological function. Several studies have suggested that folate can reduce the risk of depression, dementia, and age-related neurological degeneration.

5. Beets support blood cell production.

In addition to DNA and RNA production, the folate provided by beetroot works with Vitamins B12 and B6 in the production of red blood cells and the utilization of iron, both of which are necessary for the transport of oxygen to working muscles and organs. When our bodies fail to create and use iron efficiently, we become easily fatigued and may become anemic.

6. Beets support healthy growth and development.

Thanks to its role in DNA and RNA production, folate consumption is essential in the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. A deficiency of folate can contribute to neural tube birth defects, including brain damage, spina bifida, and cleft palate. Low levels of Folic Acid are not terribly uncommon in the general population, largely thanks to poor intake of vegetables- beets, along with spinach, asparagus, and beans contains large amounts of folate.

When incorporating beetroot into your diet, do take care in its preparation: whether youre steaming, roasting, or juicing beets, simply slicing into the beet skin releases a beautiful yet potent juice that will render clothes, linens, and skin a vibrant red. It also isnt uncommon for beet consumption to tint urine and stool a reddish brown. This is a normal and perfectly healthy consequence of beet consumption and really, if thats the only downside, considering all of the aforementioned benefits? Well, were still winning far more than losing.