Eat Beets…and chew them slowly… - Lakeside Natural Medicine

Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family

Eat Beets…and chew them slowly…

BySarah Axtell, ND May 25, 2022

Beets are one of the healthiest vegetables. They are a good dietary source of nitrates, which can be converted to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide enhances exercise performance, improves brain function, and lowers blood pressure. Nitric oxide is essential for optimal blood flow.

In order to reap the full benefit of beets, we must chew them well and chew them slowly. The bacteria in our mouths help us convert the nitrates found in beets into the beneficial molecule, nitric oxide. If you inhale your beets, you don’t give your oral bacteria adequate exposure to the beets to thus work its magic with this conversion.

In addition to aiding in this conversion, chewing your food well is also essential for good digestion. Aim to chew your food until it has liquefied in your mouth and then swallow (chew approx 20-30 times before swallowing). This can be a practice in mindful eating.

And don’t discard those beet greens- they are a medicinal food for your liver!

Tip: Avoid antiseptic mouthwash as it kills your beneficial oral bacteria, and therefore you will not be able to make this conversion of nitrate to nitric oxide.

Here are some of my favorite ways to prepare beets:

Simple Sauteed Beets and Greens

Sauteed Beets, Carrots and Greens

Superfood Red Velvet Smoothie


From Nitrate to Nitric Oxide: The Role of Salivary Glands and Oral Bacteria

Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective, and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite

Dietary nitrate supplementation improves reaction time in type 2 diabetes: development and application of a novel nitrate-depleted beetroot juice placebo

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

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