10 Impressive Health Benefits of Beets

Health and Nutrition
15.12.2019

Beetroot is the root vegetable Beta vulgaris rubra, which has been receiving a lot of attention in recent times because of its potential as a health-promoting functional food. Beetroot is grown worldwide and is eaten as part of a normal diet. It is also used as a food colouring agent known as E162 (1).

Beetroot provides a wide range of phytochemicals such as ascorbic acid, carotenoids, phenolic acids and flavonoids. It also contains a group of pigments betalains which are highly bio-reactive compounds (2).

  1. Low calorie food

Beetroot is a low calorie food, 100 gm of beetroot provides 43 kcals (3). It contains about 87 % water. Beetroot is a good source of folate, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous.

  1. Reduces blood pressure

Beetroot is a rich source of dietary nitrate (4). Beetroot juice was found to reduce blood pressure when it’s eaten as part of a normal diet in free-living healthy adults. Hypertension is one of the risk factors for developing heart disorders.

Beetroot has a protective effect on heart health because it reduces blood pressure.

  1. Enhances the performance of athletes

Dietary nitrate enhances the performance of athletes. Beetroot juice is a rich source of dietary nitrate. Consuming beetroot juice or any other high dietary nitrate-containing food 3 hours before the competition can help enhance the performance (5).

  1. Antioxidant activity

Beetroot contains a group of highly bioactive pigments known as betalains. These are known to have antioxidant activity. Beetroot can be used to strengthen endogenous antioxidant defences and reduce oxidative damage (1).

  1. Anti-inflammatory activity

Betalains and beetroot extracts have been found to be potent anti-inflammatory agents (1). This anti-inflammatory activity can be used in the conditions where diseases are caused by immune function which is not functioning properly.

  1. Fair source of dietary fiber

Beetroot is a fair source of dietary fiber that is it contains 2.8 % (3). Dietary fiber has several health-promoting effects. It contributes towards weight loss, managing blood glucose and lipid levels. Dietary fiber is also good for gut health.

  1. Improves cognitive function

Cognitive function deteriorates with age and one of the reasons may be reduced cerebral blood flow. Nitric oxide generating foods such as beetroot has the capability to increase cerebrovascular blood flow. This can reduce damage to cognitive function (1).

  1. Fair source of potassium

Beetroots are a fair source of potassium 100 grams provide 325 mg (3). Potassium is an essential mineral and it performs several important functions in the body. Potassium has a protective effect on heart health because potassium lowers blood pressure (6). They are also low in sodium which is good for keeping blood pressure in control.

  1. Improves endothelial function

With aging, endothelial dysfunction may occur and this is one of the main risk factors for developing cardiovascular disorders. Beetroot because it is a natural nitric oxide donor it helps to preserve or restore endothelial function thereby having a protective effect on the heart (1).

10. Natural colouring agent

Beetroot juice and extracts can be used as natural colouring agents to colour a wide range of products including dairy products, jams and jellies. Using a natural colouring agent is a healthy practice and any day better than synthetic colouring (2).

 

Final word

Beetroot because of its nitrate content and antioxidant activity has several health-promoting effects. Therefore, include beetroot regularly as part of your balanced diet to avail the nutritional and health benefits of beetroots.

 

References

  1. Clifford, T., Howatson, G., West, D. J. and Stevenson, E. J. (2015) The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease, Nutrients. Vol. 7(4.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425174/
  1. Deshmukh, G. P., Priyanka, Sindhav, R. and Jose, N. (2018) Application of Beetroot as Natural Coloring Pigment and Functional Ingredient in Dairy and Food Products, J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci. Vol. 7(12).
    https://www.ijcmas.com/7-12-2018/Gajanan%20P.%20Deshmukh,%20et%20al.pdf
  1. United States Department of Agriculture, USDA Food Composition Databases.
    https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list
  1. Coles, L.T. and Clifton, P.M. (2012) Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, Nutr J. Vol.11 (106).
    https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-11-106
  1. Jones, A. M., Bailey, S. J. and Vanhatalo, A. (2012) Dietary nitrate and O₂ consumption during exercise, Med Sport Sci. Vol. 59.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23075552
  1. Lanham-New, S.A., Lambert, H. and Frassetto, L. (2012) Potassium, Advances in Nutrition. Vol. 3(6).
    https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/3/6/820/4644562

 

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