Beetroots, or simply beets, seem to be one of the most overlooked vegetables, perhaps due to its unpleasant appearance and its tendency to stain clothes and hands. But it’s important to include this highly nutritious vegetable in your diet.
Beetroot, also known as garden beet, table beet or red beet, is low in fat, full of vitamins and minerals, and packed with powerful antioxidants. It contains potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid, zinc, carbohydrates, protein and soluble fiber.
Both the leaves and root of a beet can be eaten. The root can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked without peeling the skin to retain all the nutrients in it.
You can try roasted beetroot dishes or freshly extracted beetroot juice mixed with other vegetable juices. Also, the greens can be cooked and enjoyed in the same way as spinach.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of beetroots.
1. Improves Brain Function
Beetroot has an astounding positive effect on brain function as it helps increase blood flow to the brain. This in turn assists in fighting off age-related dementia.
Researchers of Translational Science Center at Wake Forest University found that the high concentration of nitrates in beetroots play a key role in combating the progression of dementia and improving brain function.
Nitrates are converted into nitrites by bacteria in the mouth which help open blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow and oxygen throughout the body, including the brain.
Plus, it is rich in antioxidants that are highly beneficial in warding off conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
After age 40, one must regularly drink half a glass of beetroot juice mixed with other green vegetable juices to enjoy strong memory.
2. Prevents Cancer
The unique combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecules in beetroot helps reduce the risk of many types of cancer like colon, lung, stomach, nerve, breast, prostate and testicular cancers.
According to a 2011 study conducted at Howard University in Washington, the betacyanin present in beetroot helped slow the growth of tumors by 12.5 percent in people suffering from prostate and breast cancer.
To defeat cancer, eat beetroot regularly in salad or juice form.
3. Manages Blood Pressure
People with high blood pressure can benefit greatly from regular consumption of beetroot due to its high nitrate content. The body converts nitrates to nitrites and a gas called nitric oxide. Both these components help to widen the arteries and lower blood pressure.
According to a study funded by the British Heart Foundation and published online in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, blood pressure was lowered within 24 hours among healthy participants who took nitrate capsules as well as those who drank beetroot juice.
Along with lowering high blood pressure, beetroot also reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. So, consume beetroot daily to maintain heart health and manage blood pressure.
4. Improves Stamina
A 2011 study conducted at St Louis University found that eating cooked beetroot or drinking beetroot juice before exercise or physical activity can boost your performance level. The study was presented to the American Dietetic Association’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo.
The theory behind this is the nitrates in beetroot are converted into nitric oxide by the body. The nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, which in turn improves oxygen delivery around the body and boosts performance. Also, you will have more stamina and feel less fatigued.
Next time you need extra stamina and endurance, you can simply drink some beetroot juice.
5. Reduces Bad Cholesterol
Beetroot also plays a role in lowering the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol. Due to the presence of carotenoids and flavonoids, beetroot helps lower and may even prevent the formation of bad cholesterol.
A study published in Farmacia in 2011 stated that beetroot can lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while increasing the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol. The study suggests the beneficial plant chemicals in beetroot are responsible for it. Plus, the soluble fiber in beetroot helps diminish and eliminate bad cholesterol.
Adding beetroot to your regular diet is a simple and easy way to manage your cholesterol level.
6. Supports Bone Health
Including beetroot in your diet also means stronger bones as well as teeth. Beetroot contains silica that helps the body utilize calcium properly. Calcium is the key nutrient for healthy and strong bones.
Beetroot is also rich in other bone-healthy nutrients like folate, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium and copper. All these nutrients play a key role in building and strengthening your bones.
Eating half a beetroot daily in salad form will help keep conditions like osteoporosis and brittle bone disease at bay.
7. Treats Anemia
As beetroot is high in iron content, it can help prevent and treat anemia and low blood hemoglobin. Iron helps in revitalizing the red blood cells, which in turn will help improve the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to different areas of the body. The copper in beetroot also helps the body absorb the iron better.
Drinking beetroot juice on a daily basis helps regenerate and reactivate red blood cells and thus helps treat anemia.
8. Aids Detoxification
Beetroot juice is highly effective at helping your liver to detoxify. This is mainly due to the presence of methionine and glycine betaine in beetroot. Both these pigments stimulate the liver cells as well as support detoxification.
Beetroot juice also protects the liver from fatty deposits due to protein deficiency and alcohol abuse. Also, beetroot juice is rich in choline that helps combat bile or liver ailments.
Whenever you feel the need for detoxification, freshly extracted beetroot juice is what you need.
9. Prevents Birth Defects
Beetroot is great for pregnant women due to its high content of folic acid. Folic acid is an essential component for the proper formation of the unborn child’s spinal cord, thus helping protect against conditions like spina bifida.
Plus, the iron in beetroot ensures good blood building for the baby and more energy for expectant mothers.
One-half cup of boiled or sliced beetroot daily is a must for pregnant women.
10. Reduces Skin Problems
Beetroot is good for your skin also. Its anti-inflammatory property will help in the prevention and cure of skin inflammations like acne and boils.
Also, beetroot helps purify your blood, which in turn gives a healthy glow to the skin. Moreover, it promotes removal of dead skin cells and regeneration of new ones.
Plus, the antioxidant properties in beetroot protect the skin from premature aging signs by neutralizing free radical effects.
To retain your beauty and maintain healthy skin, drink beetroot juice regularly.
So, what are you waiting for? Simply start eating beetroot on a daily basis and reap the numerous health benefits it has to offer.