Food for your guts : BEETS


Each cup of red beets provides just 58 calories, so they fit well into calorie-conscious diets and offer several nutrients you need for good health. They benefit your digestive health due to their fiber and folate content, but red beets also have some surprising, yet harmless, temporary digestive side effects.

Red beets come loaded with dietary fiber, a carbohydrate important for digestive health. The fiber in red beets lowers the risk of diverticular disease, a disease associated with colon inflammation that causes gas, bloating, irregular bowel movements and nausea. Red beets' fiber content also keeps you regular, softening your stool to make it easier to pass. Eating a cup of sliced red beets increases your fiber intake by 3.8 grams -- 15 percent of the 26 grams recommended for women and 10 percent of the 38 grams recommended for men.

Red beets also offer digestive benefits because of their vitamin B-9, or folate, content. Following a diet rich in folate lowers your risk of colon cancer, explains the Linus Pauling Institute, and getting enough folate in your diet helps protect you from the higher risk of colon cancer associated with alcohol consumption. Folate also aids in new cell growth, so it plays a role in tissue repair -- including the repair of tissues in your digestive tract. Eat a cup of sliced red beets and you'll increase your folate intake by 148 micrograms, which is 37 percent of your daily folate needs.

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