Household treasures: Beetroots, benefits and uses

Beets provide some impressive health benefits. Not to mention, they are low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate and vitamin C.

Beetroots

Beetroots are gaining newfound popularity as a superfood. Packed with essential nutrients, beetroots are a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.

Beets and their juice have been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance.

Many of these benefits are due to their high content of inorganic nitrates. Beetroots are delicious raw but more frequently cooked or pickled. Their leaves — known as beet greens — can also be eaten.

What are Nitrates?

Beetroots and beetroot juice are exceptionally high in nitrates, which is believed to benefit the cardiovascular system and may protect against cancer.

Most dietary nitrate (80–95%) comes from fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, dietary nitrite comes from food additives, baked goods, cereals, and processed or cured meats. Research shows that diets rich in nitrites and nitrates can have positive health effects, including lower blood pressure levels and decreased risk of many diseases.

Beets provide some impressive health benefits. Not to mention, they are low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate and vitamin C.

Your body can convert dietary nitrates — such as those from beetroots — into nitric oxide. This substance travels through your artery walls, sending signals to the tiny muscle cells around your arteries and telling them to relax. When these muscle cells relax, your blood vessels dilate and blood pressure goes down

Health Benefits of Beetroots

Beetroots and beetroot juice have many health benefits, especially for heart health and exercise performance. Many studies indicate that eating more plant foods, like beetroot, decreases the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes, and heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can damage your blood vessels and heart. What’s more, it’s among the strongest risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and premature death worldwide.

Eating fruits and vegetables rich in inorganic nitrates may cut your risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and increasing nitric oxide formation. A 2008 study published in Hypertension examined the effects of ingesting 500 milliliters of beetroot juice in healthy volunteers and found that blood pressure was significantly lowered after ingestion.

Researchers hypothesized this was likely due to the high nitrate levels contained in beet juice and that the high nitrate vegetables could prove to be a low-cost and effective way to treat cardiovascular conditions and blood pressure.

Another study conducted in 2010 found similar results, concluding that drinking beetroot juice lowered blood pressure considerably on a dose-dependent basis.

Read more: Household treasures: Green tea, benefits and uses

Exercise and Athletic Performance

Beetroot juice supplementation has been shown to improve muscle oxygenation during exercise, suggesting that increased dietary nitrate intake has the potential to enhance exercise tolerance during long-term endurance exercise. Quality of life for those with cardiovascular, respiratory, or metabolic diseases, who find the activities of daily living physically difficult because of lack of oxygenation, could be improved.

Beetroot juice improved performance by 2.8 percent, or 11 seconds, in a 4-km bicycle time trial and by 2.7 percent, or 45 seconds, in a 16.1-kilometer time trial.

Digestion and Regularity

Because of its high fiber content, beetroot helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. One cup of beetroot contains 3.4 grams of fiber, making beets a good fiber source.

Fiber bypasses digestion and heads down to the colon, where it either feeds the friendly gut bacteria or adds bulk to stool. This can promote digestive health, keep you regular and prevent digestive conditions like constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulitis.

Diabetes

Beets contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which may help lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.

Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown a decrease in symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy in people with diabetes.5

However, a meta-analysis suggests that the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid for symptomatic peripheral neuropathy may be restricted to intravenous administration of the acid. The authors conclude: “It is unclear if the significant improvements seen after 3 to 5 weeks of oral administration at a dosage of more than 600 milligrams a day are clinically relevant.

Anemia

When the body lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin, it leads to a health condition known as anemia. The condition is associated with shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, poor appetite, rapid heartbeat and dizziness.

Beetroot helps in repairing and reactivating the red blood cells in the body, which further increases the supply of oxygen to all parts of the body. One of the best ways to consume beetroot for anemia is to have it in the form of juice. Beetroot juice is a healthy potion that can do wonders for your overall health as it is an excellent source of iron and vitamin C.

Weight Loss

Beets have several nutritional properties that should make them good for weight loss. Firstly, beets are low in calories and high in water. Increasing your intake of low-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables has been associated with weight loss.

Furthermore, despite their low-calorie content, beets contain moderate amounts of protein and fiber. These are both important nutrients for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The fiber in beets may also help promote weight loss by reducing appetite and promoting feelings of fullness, thereby reducing overall calorie intake.

While no studies have directly tested the effects of beets on weight, it’s likely that adding beets to your diet can aid in weight loss.

Beets provide some impressive health benefits. Not to mention, they are low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate and vitamin C.

Beets also contain nitrates and pigments that may help lower blood pressure and improve athletic performance. Lastly, beets are delicious and versatile, fitting well into a healthy and balanced diet.

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