Let’s talk about beets, shall we? Truly an underrated vegetable, beets are part of the root vegetable category and contain tons of awesome vitamins, minerals and plant compounds.

Besides being an ultra healthy veggie, beets are super versatile too. From roasting them as a side dish, to chopping them up for salads, to baking them into a chip, beets are a delicious and easy way to add some flair to your meals.

Sure, they might turn your pee a little pink (beet lovers, you know that feeling), but beets do so much for you that you can’t even be mad about that little effect.

Here are 9 ways bets can benefit your health—and why you need to start adding them to your diet if you don’t already!

  1. Make you better at sports

    It sounds strange, but eating beets can seriously enhance your athletic performance. The reason is their high nitrate concentration, which can improve the efficiency of your mitochondria, which is responsible for your energy levels. Additionally, a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found beets may help enhance cycling performance. Apparently whoever thought a banana was the perfect pre-workout snack never ate a beet!

  2. Aid in weight loss

    Trying to shed a few pounds? Besides the fact that beets are low in calories and high in water, they contain a good amount of protein and fiber, which can help you maintain a healthy weight by keeping you fuller longer.

  3. Helps your brain

    Okay, so beets don’t necessarily make you smarter, but they can have some major effects on your brain. According to a study in the journal Nitric Oxide, beets can help improve blood flow to the frontal lobe of your brain, an area linked with the ability to make decisions as well as memory. Improved reaction time has also been associated with drinking beet juice.

  4. Can lower your blood pressure

    Due to its high level of nitrates, beets have been proven to help lower blood pressure, according to a study published in Hypertension. This is good news for anyone who’s at risk for heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

  5. Staves off tumors

    One study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that beetroot extract helped to reduce the growth of tumor cells in rats—and scientists thinks it could have a similar effect on humans. Additionally, beets are high in a pigment called betalains, which were responsible for lowering the risk of prostate and breast cancer cell development in a 2011 study.

  6. Gets your digestive system moving

    Achem—you know what we mean. If you’re feeling a little constipated, the high fiber content of beets can help get things regular again, a study published in Nutrients found. It’s also been found to help symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulitis as well.

  7. Improves inflammation

    It’s those betalains again—the pigment is pretty anti-inflammatory. And with chronic inflammation being linked to ailments such as obesity, heart disease, liver disease and cancer, beets may be able to fend off some of these diseases. Plus one study found that the effects of beetroot juice on rats involved improved kidney inflammation—so that can’t be a bad thing!

Are you a fan of beets? Did you know they had so many health benefits? What’s your favorite way to add them to your meals? Share you best beet recipe!