Beet root is one of the most popular root vegetables around the world. This superfood is widely used in many cuisines as they add an abundance of minerals, vitamins, and organic compounds into any diet.
Apart from their high nutritive content, beets, as they are commonly called, are delicious whether roasted, pickled, juiced, or steamed. This vegetable belongs to the same family as sugar beets, but they are nutritionally and genetically different.
Beet roots are high in dietary fiber, but they are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are also rich in potassium, folate, manganese, iron, copper, magnesium, Vitamin C, and B vitamins.
Little wonder this superfood offers a wide range of health benefits, including:
Beetroot fights inflammation
While inflammation helps the body fight foreign invaders, thereby supporting the immune system, it can be problematic sometimes, especially when it becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation is often associated with several diseases, including heart disease, obesity, cancer, and liver disease.
The good news is that beets help to reduce the severity of chronic inflammation because they contain “betalain”- an amino acid that has been shown by research to have anti-inflammatory functions in many diseases.
A study conducted in humans with osteoarthritis found that betalain capsules made with Beetroot extract are effective in reducing the pains and discomfort linked to the condition.
Beetroots can improve athletic performance
Beets are rich in dietary nitrates, which helps to improve the efficiency of mitochondria, thereby producing more energy in your cells.
Studies show that beet juice allows your blood to flow faster, and your muscles get more oxygen throughout your workout session.
One study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that beet juice helps to improve the performance of a high-intensity exercise. The male cyclists in the study were able to peddle 15% longer after taking beet juice.
Findings also show that when the nitric oxide content of the body increases, it enhances exercise tolerance of longer-term endurance exercise. Interestingly, after drinking beet juice, the nitrate level peaks within two to three hours. So, you can plan your workout accordingly with this superfood.
Beetroots help to regulate blood pressure
The nitrates content of Beetroots helps to relax and dilate blood vessels, thereby boosting circulation and a possible drop in blood pressure.
A study published by Hypertension in 2008 found that people who drank Beetroot juice experienced less blood clotting and a 10 mm Hg drop in blood pressure three hours after intake compared to those who drank water.
Beetroots can give more brain power
The increased blood flow caused by nitrates doesn’t just go to the muscles, it also goes to the brain, thereby boosting cognitive functioning.
A study shows that drinking 1 cup of Beetroot juice in a reaction time test caused participants to score 4% faster compared to the placebo.
Beets help to boost blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain, which is mainly involved in higher-level thinking, such as working memory and decision making. However, more research is needed in this area.
Beetroots help to improve the appearance of the skin
The production of free radicals in the body causes cell damage and this is partly responsible for the visible signs of aging. But Beetroots are loaded with antioxidants, which help to fight against free radicals.
A major antioxidant contained in beets are phytochemicals called betalain. Studies have shown that betalain helps to fight off free radicals far more than anthocyanins and Vitamin C. You can enjoy this great benefit by including Beetroots in your diet.
Beetroots are great for detoxification
The antioxidant, betalain, which helps to improve the appearance of the skin, also helps the liver to detox chemicals. The liver is responsible for filtering blood, detoxifying chemicals, making proteins for blood clotting, and metabolizing drugs. To help this function, beets support the cleaning and functioning of the liver.
Beetroots may help you lose weight
Beets are high in water and low in calories, making them good for weight loss. Studies have shown that increasing your intake of low-calorie foods like vegetables and fruits helps to support weight loss.
More so, beets contain a moderate amount of fiber and protein, which are both necessary for maintaining a healthy weight. The fiber content in beets helps to reduce appetite and promote feelings of fullness, thereby reducing your calorie intake.
So, adding beets to your diet has the potential of helping you lose weight. However, more studies are needed to prove the effects of beets on weight.
Beetroots may improve digestive health
You need dietary fiber for improved digestive health, and beets are a good fiber source. This fiber content bypasses digestion and goes down to the colon, where it either adds bulk to stool or feeds the friendly gut bacteria.
This way, Beetroots help to promote digestive health and keep digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and constipation at bay.
Besides the digestive benefits of fiber, many studies have linked dietary fiber to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Beetroots offer some anti-cancer benefits
Cancer is one of the deadliest health conditions characterized by the uncontrollable growth of cells. But the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nature of beets can help to reduce the risk of cancer.
One test-tube study conducted using human cells found that Beetroot extract, containing a high amount of betalain pigments, helped to reduce the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells.
However, further research is needed to determine if the same effect will be produced in living, breathing humans.
Not only are beets delicious juiced, pickled or even added to soups, they are one of the best superfoods you can include in your diet. They detox the body, boost energy, fight inflammation, improve cognitive and physical functioning, and leave your skin looking radiant.