health benefits of beetroot

Health Benefits Of Beetroot – They Are Quite Amazing!

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The humble beetroot (or beets) has been long regarded as the best natural food source to boost your hemoglobin levels.

The great news is that it is a lot more than that.

Today, as a part of MyNutrition series, I will talk about how beetroot can be one of the best foods to eat to stay healthy.

The Beetroot

Beetroot, or Beta vulgaris, has been widely available for years. However, its health benefits have only been recognized in recent times.

Besides their brilliant color, beetroots have an earthy taste and are loaded with vitamins and phytonutrients. Each of these has a role to play when it comes to your health.

For example, beetroots are rich in iron, vitamin C, potassium, and folic acid, all of which have important roles in keeping us healthy.

Here are some of the health benefits of beetroot.

Health Benefits Of Beetroot

Lowers Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a risk factor for several diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. By consuming beetroot or beetroot juice, people with high blood pressure can potentially lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk of these diseases.

This is because beetroot contains nitrates that can help dilate blood vessels, which can lower blood pressure.

The nitrate in beetroot juice is turned into nitrite in the body, which is then turned into nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is known to have a vasodilating effect, which lowers blood pressure and brings more oxygen and nutrients to working muscles.

Studies have shown that its blood pressure-lowering effects are more pronounced in people who have already got high blood pressure, compared to those who have normal blood pressure.

However, if you wish for the beetroot to keep your blood pressure low, it must be consumed on a daily basis. A study found that blood pressure starts to rise again once your stop consuming beetroot juice.

Interestingly, studies also show that the blood pressure-lowering effect may only be minimal in patients with diabetes.

Interesting Fact – The leaves of beetroot are more nutritious than beetroot!

Boosts Athletic Performance

If you are planning to take up sports or any similar athletic activity, then beetroot could be your fuel.

Nitrates in beetroot can help muscles get more oxygen, which can help them work harder and last longer when they exercise.

In competitive sports, a change in performance of 0.5%–1.5% is considered to be a critical difference.

It has been shown that eating beets makes it take longer to get tired during high-intensity exercise and improves an athlete’s ability to work out.

Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal response to an injury or infection, but long-term inflammation has been linked to cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.

Beetroot contains antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body. In particular, it contains Betalains which are responsible for the bright red color of beetroots.

Betalains are powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and oxidative stress, thus protecting the cells in the body from damage.

In the same way, taking betalain capsules for 10 days decreased pre-inflammatory factors like cytokines, TNF-, IL-6, and inflammation in people with osteoarthritis, which led to less pain.

Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

There is misinformation that beetroot is bad for those with diabetes as it contains sugar.

Fortunately, this is not true.

Beetroot is low in glycemic index, which means it can help regulate blood sugar levels. Low-glycemic foods are digested more slowly, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes and dips.

Regular consumption of beetroot juice has been found to lower insulin resistance and improve blood glucose control in patients with diabetes.

Promotes Healthy Digestion

Beetroot is a good source of fiber, which can help promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation.

Fiber adds bulk to the stool, making it easier to pass, and also feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Prevents Cancer

Beetroot contains compounds that have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. These compounds, such as betalains and polyphenols, can help prevent the formation of cancer cells and reduce the growth of existing cancer cells.

However, it is to be noted that most of the evidence of the anti-cancer activity of beets is from animal and in vitro studies and not human studies per se.

Improves Brain Function

The nitrates in beetroot can help get more blood to the brain, which can improve brain function. Improved blood flow can lead to better memory, concentration, and decision-making.

In one study, regular consumption of 100 grams of raw beetroot over an 8-week period improved cognitive function in human subjects. It is believed that the nitrates in beetroot increase overall blood flow to the brain, making it function better.

Boosts Immunity

Beetroot is a good source of vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.

Earlier in the article, I mentioned how the high antioxidant content can help fight inflammation.

Supports Liver Health

Beetroot contains betaine, which can help protect the liver and support its function. The liver filters toxins from the body, and betaine can help support this function.

Adverse Effects

While everything looks amazing with beetroot juice, it’s not for everyone.

For example, some people get mild acidity and indigestion from beetroot.

Some people worry that drinking too much beetroot juice could cause a buildup of nitrites. This is believed to increase the risk of cancer. However, this has not been studied extensively yet.

It also contains oxalates, which could increase the chances of developing kidney stones.

That being said, the health benefits of beetroot outweighs the risk by a large margin.

Making Beetroot Juice

Here is a simple recipe for beetroot juice.

This is just a representative image. I did not make this :-).
Ingredients And Recipe

a. 2 medium-sized beetroots
b. 1 medium-sized apple
c. 1 lemon
d. 1-inch piece of ginger
e. Water

  1. Wash and peel the beetroot, apple, and ginger.
  2. Cut them into small pieces and put them in a blender.
  3. Squeeze the lemon juice into the blender.
  4. Add water to the blender, enough to cover the ingredients.
  5. Blend the ingredients until smooth.
  6. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
  7. Serve the beetroot juice immediately.

Optional: You can add a sweetener such as honey or maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter taste. You can also adjust the amount of water depending on how thick you want the juice to be.

Closing Remarks

The health benefits of beetroot are many, and I have listed some of the best ones above. Try and incorporate a cup of beetroot juice a few times a week to keep your body working like the efficient machine that it is!

Dr Vivek Baliga B
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1 thought on “Health Benefits Of Beetroot – They Are Quite Amazing!”

  1. A very interesting article on nutrition/beetroot especially since Covid , everyone has up their ante on nutrition.
    Beetroot had vanished from my shopping list as I thought it would spike my Hb 1ac reading. However, now it will make an entry once again on to my shopping list. Look fwd to read more articles on nutrition

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