Here at XEN life we’ve featured many kinds of superfoods. We’ve discovered the benefits of maca, krill, calamari and berries among others. Now we’d like to cover the benefits of a superfood that is often overlooked: beets.
Among the leading producers of beetroot today are the USA, Russia, Poland, Germany and France. Certain countries all over the world have specialised beetroot recipes. The beets belong to the family of spinach and chard. Beetroot leaves and roots can be eaten, however, the leaves are bitter and the roots are very sweet.
Although the beetroot we often see is red or purple, there are also white and golden varieties of this superfood. These different colour pigments are due to betacyanin. Betacyanin is said to help aid the fight against some types of cancer. It is also rich in fibre which makes it good for bowel functions while also assisting in cholesterol problems.
Beetroot leaves are rich in calcium, vitamins A and C and iron. The roots on the other hand are a good source of folic acid, fibre, potassium and manganese. Beetroots were once considered as plants with medicinal value, so it’s no surprise they are now considered a superfood! They are eaten mostly to help with liver detoxification.
Benefits of Beetroot
#1 Reduce stroke, heart attack, blood pressure
Beetroots contain a considerable amount of nitrates. Nitrates are known to help heart related diseases, reduce the chances of stroke and stabilise blood pressure. The nitrates become oxidised once they come into contact with the blood, forming nitric acid and enlarging the blood vessels. Once the blood vessels grow, the oxygen in the blood also increases. Regular inclusion of beetroot in your diet may help improve heart health and aid the fight against cardiovascular diseases.
#2 Rich in antioxidants
Berries, which are classified as superfoods, are all pigmented. These colour pigments occur due to the amount of antioxidants present. The antioxidants contained in beetroot helps strengthen the immune system.
#3 Helps brain health
Mental decline and mental health problems are common these days. Beetroot can also help blood flow to the brain. Once the brain gets a good blood flow, chances of dementia and other brain related illnesses are reduced.
#4 Aids in strengthening the bones
Beetroots are also known to contain silica, magnesium, vitamin C and folate. Silica is a mineral that helps the body use calcium. Once calcium is used properly, the body’s skeletal system benefit greatly from it. The bones gain more strength thanks to the mineral components of beetroot.
#5 Aids in cholesterol control
Beetroots contain lots of fibres, which is one way to control cholesterol. Other fibre-rich foods include green leafy vegetables. Soluble fibres reduce the increase of bad cholesterol.
#6 Provides energy
Most people rely on energy drinks or coffee to get perked up and get work done. Health wise, these are not recommended. Beetroot, however, is a healthy alternative. Drinking beetroot juice before exercising or any physical activity can boost energy and performance. This is because beetroot stimulates blood vessels and blood flow while also providing the energy you need.
#7 Helps in blood sugar control
Beetroots can be beneficial in many aspects of health, including the stabilisation of blood sugar levels. Beetroot juice can help stabilise glucose levels if consumed three times a week. Again, this is due to the soluble fibre content.
#8 Good for the skin
Beetroot has the capacity to detoxify the blood, thus maintaining healthy skin. It even has the capacity to help clear pimples and reduce acne in the long run. Since beetroot fights foreign invaders, it can ward off infections as well. Antioxidants from beetroots also reduce common signs of ageing, promoting radiant skin.
#9 Fights dandruff
We mentioned that beetroot contains vitamins and minerals which improve blood flow. This blood flow helps improve the skin and the scalp with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The beneficial content of beetroot helps remove dead skin cells and helps hair grow strong. This heals the dead skin on the scalp, conditions the scalp and gradually removes dandruff.
Not only does beetroot remove dandruff, it may also help hair grow healthy and thick due to its carotenoid contents, which are lutein and zeaxanthin.
Beetroot juice contains plenty of betacyanin. This betacyanin exhibits anti-cancer capabilities. It prevents tumour formations through the purging of harmful toxins in the body. It is known to benefit those who have cancer of the lungs, skin, breast, prostate, testes and the blood (leukaemia). It helps reduces cell mutation among those who have stomach cancer.
#11 Helps metabolism
Aside from its anti-cancer properties, beetroot improves digestive health. It hastens fat digestion and improves metabolism. Once you drink beet juice regularly, your intestines may benefit from its cleansing properties. Those who have increased stomach acidity may also benefit from regular consumption of beetroot juice.
#12 Good for pregnant women
Pregnant women need folic acid to help the baby’s brain and overall development. Beetroot contains a considerable amount of folic acid and it helps prevent birth defects.
Studies on Beetroot
University of Pennsylvania professor David Proctor conducted a study on the ability of beetroot to help blood flow and ease the workload of the heart when exercising. In another study, it was found that beetroot juice can reduce blood pressure in a moderate way.
Another 2010 study suggested that a diet containing beetroot may increase blood flow in various areas of the brain.
Beetroot Side Effects
Too much beetroot can cause the stomach to become upset since it may act as diuretic and a laxative. Drinking more than two glasses of pure beetroot juice may lower blood pressure drastically, resulting in dizziness and weakness. The solution to this is the dilution of the juice before drinking it.
Other side effects may include chills, fever, rashes, burning and itching sensations. However, these would only occur after digesting a considerable amount of beetroot.
Regular consumption of beetroot or beetroot juice may cause stool and urine to turn red. This is normal and you shouldn’t panic.
Why not grill up some beetroot for dinner tonight?