Beetroot

Amazing Health Benefits Of Beetroot

Beetroot, also called blood turnips, is packed with essential nutrients. Extensive research has highlighted its health benefits, including potential reductions in blood pressure, increased energy, and decreased inflammation.

With low sodium and fat, and high folate levels, beetroots might aid in mental and emotional health.

They also contain vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting, and calcium, which is important for strong bones and teeth. Rich in dietary fiber, beets may also assist with weight loss, although more research is needed to confirm this.

What Is Beetroot?

Beetroot is often considered one of the healthiest vegetables. It is the taproot part of the beet plant, belonging to the genus Beta vulgaris, which is primarily cultivated for its edible roots and leaves. Besides its culinary uses, beetroot is also employed for medicinal purposes and as a food colorant.

Since the Middle Ages, beetroot has been utilized not only as food but also as a remedy for various ailments. Commonly referred to as beet, it is known as Chukandar in Hindi, Remolachas in Spanish, and Hong cai tou in Chinese. In Indian households, beets have long been used to treat anemia.

Health Benefits

Aid in Preventing Osteoporosis

As previously mentioned, nitrates in beets convert to nitric oxide in the body. A Japanese study suggests that nitric oxide may help prevent certain lifestyle-related diseases, including osteoporosis.

Another benefit of beetroot for osteoporosis is its silica content, which is essential for the body’s efficient use of calcium. Drinking a glass of beetroot juice daily can help prevent osteoporosis and related conditions, such as brittle bone disease.

Additionally, studies indicate that betaine supplements can reduce homocysteine levels in the body. High homocysteine levels can increase the risk of osteoporosis, particularly in younger adults.

Boosts Antioxidant Levels

This is due to the presence of polyphenols and betalains in beetroot, which provide its antioxidant properties. A study found that the betalain pigment in beets possesses strong anti-inflammatory effects, helping to combat oxidative stress and enhance cognitive function.

The abundance of antioxidants in beets (and their greens) may enhance the body’s overall antioxidant status and boost the immune system.

Aid in Preventing Cataracts

Beets, particularly their greens, are high in beta-carotene, which may help lower the risk of cataracts and prevent age-related macular degeneration.

Enhance Sexual Health

Beetroot has been considered an aphrodisiac since Roman times. Beets are rich in boron, which is essential for the production of sex hormones. Additionally, beets have relaxing properties; betaine helps relax the mind, while tryptophan promotes a sense of happiness, both of which can enhance mood and libido.

Aid in Treating Anemia

Iron deficiency causes anemia. Beets are rich in iron, and the body absorbs iron from beetroot better than from some other vegetables. Beetroot also contains more iron than beet greens. Additionally, the folate in beets may assist in treating anemia.

Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol Levels

In an animal study, rats given beet extracts experienced a reduction in total cholesterol levels and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. While further research is needed, the study suggests that phytonutrients in beets may offer these health benefits.

Beetroot is also low in calories and contains no cholesterol, making it a rare food with these qualities.

May Assist in Digestion

Regular consumption of beets or beet products has been shown to benefit digestion and blood quality. There is some anecdotal evidence suggesting that white beets may help alleviate liver and spleen obstructions, but research in this area is limited. Red beets, on the other hand, are believed to be beneficial for treating digestive and blood-related illnesses.

Historically, red beets have been used by Romans to address issues like constipation. Their high fiber content makes them potentially helpful in managing diverticulitis. Studies have indicated that populations consuming diets rich in fiber tend to have lower rates of diverticulitis. Fiber also promotes regular bowel movements and enhances overall digestive health.

Manage Blood Sugar Levels

Regarding sugar beets, an Icelandic study suggests that fiber from sugar beets can help reduce high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).

Additionally, a UK study found that drinking beetroot juice can lower post-meal blood sugar levels (postprandial glycemia).

Support Brain Health

Beets are known to enhance brain neuroplasticity by improving oxygenation of the somatomotor cortex, an area typically affected in early stages of dementia.

In older adults with hypertension, supplementation with beet juice (alongside exercise) led to brain connectivity resembling that of younger adults.

Nitrates in beets are converted into nitric oxide in the body, which facilitates communication between brain cells and promotes brain health. They also enhance blood flow to the brain.

Incorporating beetroot juice or beetroot into the diet, particularly as a dietary supplement, may offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that individuals consuming beetroot juice experience healthier brains and improved cognitive function.

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Aid in Combating Inflammation

According to research from Iran, beetroot, particularly in juice form, demonstrated effectiveness in treating inflammation. Additionally, a study from Egypt indicated that beetroot extract could alleviate inflammation in the kidneys.

The anti-inflammatory properties of beetroot may be attributed to its content of folate, fiber, and betalains.

Increase Energy Levels

Research indicates that beetroot improves muscle efficiency, which enhances endurance. In a study involving men aged 19 to 38 cycling on exercise bikes, consuming approximately half a liter of beet juice daily allowed them to cycle 16% longer without fatigue.

Another study showed that consuming beetroot provided runners with a slight advantage, averaging 41 seconds faster in a 5k run compared to those who did not consume beetroot. This improvement is attributed to beetroot’s ability to increase the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity and reduce the oxygen demand of muscles during exercise.

May Support Liver Health

Beets are considered beneficial for liver health due to their content of calcium, betaine, B vitamins, iron, and antioxidants.

Pectin, a fiber found in beets, aids in detoxification by assisting in the removal and prevention of toxins from re-entering the body after being cleared by the liver.

Beets also provide zinc and copper, which help protect liver cells from oxidative stress. According to a study from Poland, beetroot may offer protection against oxidative damage to the liver.

Some proponents suggest that beets may have a bile-thinning effect, promoting smoother bile flow through the liver and small intestine, potentially benefiting liver health. However, more research is needed in this area.

Help in Cancer Prevention

Beetroot extract shows potential in preventing breast and prostate cancers, possibly due to the presence of betanin, a type of betalain found in beetroot. Further research is needed to confirm this benefit.

Research conducted at Howard University in Washington suggests that consuming beetroot may help prevent lung and skin cancers.

Combining beetroot juice with carrot extract has shown promise in supporting the treatment of leukemia. Multiple studies have highlighted the anticancer and chemopreventive properties of beets.

In a study from France, betanin was observed to significantly reduce cancer cell proliferation.

Beneficial for Heart Health

The nitrates found in beets help lower blood pressure, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes.

According to research, regular consumption of beetroot juice for just one week can enhance endurance and lower blood pressure in older adults at risk of heart failure.

Studies conducted in the United States have indicated that drinking beet juice may prevent myocardial infarction, which involves the blockage of blood supply to the heart tissue.

In studies involving rats, beetroot has been shown to improve oxygen delivery to working skeletal muscles. Inadequate oxygen to these muscles can impair movement of the arms or legs, decrease physical activity, and contribute to heart disease.

Delay Signs of Early Aging

Beet greens are rich in vitamin A, carotenoids, and lutein, potent antioxidants that benefit both internal health and skin. These antioxidants combat free radicals and may contribute to skin photoprotection. However, there is currently no direct research linking beets themselves to delaying signs of aging.

According to a study from China, sugar beet molasses possesses strong antioxidant properties. The phenolic compounds in sugar beet molasses are noted for their anti-aging effects.

Bottom Line

Beetroots are packed with vital vitamins and minerals that aid in treating various conditions. They can potentially delay premature aging, lower blood pressure, support a healthy pregnancy, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower the risk of cancer. Beets come in several varieties and are versatile for culinary use.

However, excessive consumption of beetroot may lead to kidney stones and can interact with blood-thinning medications. It’s important to consume them in moderation.

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