Beetroot, also known as beet, is becoming ever more popular as a superfood. According to a recent study, beetroot juice can boost blood flow, enhance athletic performance, and lower blood pressure.
It has been flooding the market by way of new products rich in this highly nutritious food.
The beet belongs to the same family as sugar beets, but they are different genetically and have different nutritional value. Sugar beets are white and contain plenty of sucrose, which makes them widely used for sugar production. Beets, on the other hand, are golden brown or red and cannot be used for extracting sugar.
Eating all kinds of vegetables and fruits has long been linked with promoting healthy lifestyles. Various studies have shown that consuming more plant-based food, such as beetroot, lowers the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. In addition, it bolsters complexion, promotes hair growth, raises energy levels, and leads to lower overall weight.
Blood Pressure and Heart Health
A study published in 2008 on hypertension looked at the effects of 500 ml of beet juice and noted that it lowered blood pressure. Scientists speculate that this is because of the high levels of nitrate present in the root. Vegetables containing higher percentages of nitrate regulate blood pressure and help in treating cardiovascular conditions.
In 2010, another study yielded the same outcome. According to this study, consuming beetroot juice significantly reduces high blood pressure.
At Wake Forest University, researchers concluded that drinking beetroot juice can slow down the progress of dementia in older adults and boost oxygen levels in the brain.
According to the director of Wake Forest’s Center of Translational Science, Daniel Kim-Shapiro, the flow of blood to particular areas of the brain reduces as a person gets older, which can lead to dementia or a decline in cognition. Drinking beetroot juice can boost oxygenation and blood flow to the brain, keeping it active.
Alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant, is present in beetroot and may aid in reducing the levels of glucose, raising the sensitivity of insulin, and preventing oxidative stress in patients with diabetes.
Research on alpha-lipoic acid has also shown positive results in dealing with autonomic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy in diabetics.
Digestion and Uniformity
As beetroot is high in fiber. It maintains balance for a healthy digestive tract and helps in preventing constipation.
A significant nutrient in beetroot is choline, which helps with muscle movement, memory, learning, and sleep. Choline also aids in preserving the structural integrity of cells. The most important function of choline is that it helps with chronic inflammation.
Athletic Performance and Exercise
Beetroot juice has been shown to help oxygenate muscles during exercise. Moreover, an increase of nitrate in the diet was shown to increase stamina during intense exercise. Furthermore, beetroot can boost the quality of life for people with respiratory, metabolic, and cardiovascular diseases and those who have difficulty with everyday physical activities due to a lack of oxygenation.
Beetroot and beet juice are good sources of nutrients. A cup of raw beetroot has:
Though each company has its own formula, a 296 ml bottle of beet juice typically contains:
- Calories: 44
- Carbohydrates: 11 g, i.e. sugar: 8 g, fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 2 g
Always check for added sugars in store-bought juices and try to find those that have little to none.
- Vitamin A: 1%
- Vitamin C: 11%
- Iron: 6%
- Calcium: 2%
As an antioxidant, vitamin C is vital for developing neurotransmitters and collagen, and it helps with metabolizing proteins. Iron is another crucial component of beetroot. It’s a protein that distributes oxygen throughout the body, and it is important for the proper functioning, development, and growth of cells. A certain type of anemia is caused by a lack of iron.
Beetroot is rich in manganese and folate. It also contains riboflavin, magnesium, vitamin B-6, thiamine, copper, phosphorus, selenium, betaine, zinc, and pantothenic acid.
Folic acid is recommended during pregnancy, and research shows that it helps in healthy birth weight and preventing congenital heart defects and neural tube defects in infants.
Our bodies have a very limited amount of manganese. However, we need it for many functions. Infertility, weakness, seizures, and malformation are all associated with a lack of manganese.
Beetroots are rich in dietary nitrate, which benefits the cardiovascular system.
How to Eat and Prepare Beets
Beets can be eaten raw, boiled, pickled, steamed, or roasted.
- Make beetroot juice by blending a beet with fresh mint, oranges, apples, pineapple, lemon, and ginger.
- Shred raw beets and add them to your favorite salad.
- Roast them in the oven and serve with goat cheese.
- Chop raw beets and sprinkle them with lemon juice and chili powder.
When selecting a beetroot, always check if it has a good weight and that its surface does not have any apparent damage. If it is still green on top, it’s fresh and hasn’t ripened fully, but it is still edible. In addition to red beetroots, there are also white and golden beets, which can be found in any grocery story or farmers’ market.
You can store beetroots by sealing them tightly in a bag and putting them in the refrigerator. If you want to store them for longer than a few days, cut the leaves and stems off, leaving about 2 inches. Store them in a box filled with sand in a shed or garage or anywhere that’s cold but safe from frost.
If not stored properly, vegetable juice containing nitrate may accrue bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrite and contaminate the juice. Consuming high levels of nitrite can be harmful as a diet rich in nitrite may counteract with medicines containing it.
Eating and drinking beets can cause red stool or urine, which is not harmful but can be alarming the first time it happens.
To enjoy the benefits of beetroot, visit your local market. You’ll be able to find it in many forms, such as powder, supplements, extract, pickled beets, and juice.