Beetroot, from a humble vegetable, has become the theme of healthy food articles lately. Recent researches have shown its very rich beneficial properties and make it one of the most valuable gifts of nature with intense protective and therapeutic action, which can shield our organism against many diseases.
Beetroot belongs to the same family as spinach, swiss chard and sugar beet. It is a bulbous vegetable and grows in the soil. It reaches 1.5 meters in height.
Beetroot – Nutritional analysis:
A cup of raw beetroot contains:
- 58 calories
- 13 grams of carbohydrates, including 9 grams of sugar and 4 grams of fiber
- 2 grams of protein
Beetroot provides 1% of daily needs for vitamin A, 2% calcium, 11% vitamin C and 6% iron.
A multivitamin on your plate
Beetroot improves the body’s natural defenses by helping to regenerate immune cells while also contains magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, iodine, copper, sodium, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2, B6, B5 (pantothenic acid) , fiber and phytonutrients such as β-carotene. It is a rich source of folate and manganese. The red color of the beet’s bulb is due to pigments called betalaines which have a strong antioxidant effect.
Slows the progression of dementia
Betalaines are water-soluble plant pigments and can be distinguished in two types: beta-cyanines and beta-xanthines. In particular, beta cyanins help in cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and senile dementia. These antioxidants prevent further damage to brain cells. In addition, a study by Wake Forest University has shown that the consumption of beet juice improves brain oxygenation by slowing the progression of senile dementia in adults.
Recent research has shown that beet juice can improve endurance so that one can exercise 16% more. The high content of nitrates reduces the body’s requirements for oxygen, making working out easier. Although the exact mechanism has not been proven, the researchers assume that it is the conversion of nitrate to nitric oxide that is responsible for improving this resistance. This may particularly benefit those suffering from cardiorespiratory or respiratory problems, or from metabolic disorders.
It reduces blood pressure
In addition, beet juice helps reduce blood pressure. According to the researchers, the amount of nitrate is the one that has the beneficial – for high pressure – properties. This is due to the conversion of nitrate (with saliva) to nitrite.
Research conducted in experimental animals has shown that folic acid found in beet fibers can reduce both cholesterol and triglycerides.
Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
Beets contain a substance, betaine, which reduces homocysteine levels and shields against various cardiovascular diseases. Large amounts of homocysteine in the body may be responsible for inflammation in the blood vessels. Betain is a choline that effectively helps reduce homocysteine and thus shields the heart.
Helps to treat liver diseases
Studies on the properties of betaine have shown that it can also help in treating liver diseases. In particular, it prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver, which can be caused by increased alcohol consumption, obesity, protein deficiency, diabetes.
Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
Red beets contain large amounts of magnesium. Magnesium helps the body to properly absorb calcium and maintain bone structure.
Has hematopoietic action
The great content of iron in beets and their hematopoietic property has been known for many years. Galenos and Dioscourdes has spoken about it, and recommended that people with anemia consume beets and drink their juice.
They have antioxidant properties
Beetroot is rich in catalase enzyme, one of the most important antioxidant enzymes which have the capacity to shield our body from free radicals, and the inadequacy of catalase, has been associated with white hair, arthritis, osteoarthritis and other degenerative diseases of the body.
Acts against constipation
Because of the high fiber content, beets help fight constipation and maintain healthy bowel function.
Choline is a very important nutrient in beets that helps sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps in maintaining the structure of cell membranes, the transmission of nerve impulses, absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.
How to consume beetroot
When choosing beets, make sure they are heavy for their size and has no damage in the surface. Their green leaves, which are also edible, should be fresh. Beetroot is not just red. There are also yellow and white, but they are not so widespread in Greece.
Beets can be eaten steamed, roasted, boiled, raw, pickled and in juices / smoothies.
Make your own juice with:
- beetroot, orange, peppermint and pineapple,
- beetroot, apple, lemon and ginger,
- beetroot, carrots, apple,
- beetroot, strawberries, blueberries, apple,
- beetroot, celery, carrots, kale.
- or, make your own combination.
Beetroot also forms the basis for many dishes such as the Borsch soup, a traditional soup of Eastern European countries.
Click here to see the beetroot recipes available at The Healthy Cook.
Note: The ideas and information presented in this blog are for informational purposes only and in no case can replace the advice of a specialist in nutrition and health. Before starting any diet or exercise or before adding a special food in your daily intake, you should contact a specialist doctor or dietitian; especially if you suffer from a serious illness.