Beets, (Beta vulgaris L) also called beetroot, have been consumed since the days of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. It has always been believed to be a nutritious vegetable, and recent scientific studies have confirmed this. Beetroot contains numerous vitamins and minerals that contribute to overall good health.
Beetroot is a root vegetable that grows primarily in the ground with a leafy top that grows above ground. It can be found in both temperate and tropical areas of the world. It takes approximately 60 days from seed to harvest. Beets have been cultivated for thousands of years for their dietary value. Recent studies have indicated that consuming beetroot juice can improve certain health conditions and can also improve oxygenation during athletic activities. Though the full health effects of beetroot are not yet known, many health experts recommend consuming beetroot or beetroot herbal for a nutritional boost.
Health Benefits of Beetroot
Beetroot also improves blood flow to the brain and can slow the progress of dementia. Beetroot has some nutrients that are essential for general health. Beetroot also contains potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and dietary nitrate. Potassium lowers heart rate and regulates metabolism. Sodium and magnesium help with proper fluid levels within the body.
The dietary nitrate in beetroot is linked to lower blood pressure and a reduced incidence of heart disease. Beetroot is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron. Vitamin A is necessary for mucous membrane, healthy skin and good vision. Vitamin C boosts the immune system. Iron is an essential mineral for red blood cell production in the body. Beetroot also contains folates that aid DNA synthesis within the cells. The fiber in beetroot helps to slow down its conversion into glucose, which makes it an excellent food for those with Type-2 diabetes. The fiber can also contribute to reducing cholesterol. The nitrates in beetroot also widen blood vessels for better exercise and athletic performance. Beetroot also contains silica, which helps to strengthen bones and hair, as well as to maintain healthy skin condition.
Beetroot Active Ingredients
Beetroot contains phytonutrient pigments called betalains. Two types of betalain compounds, betalin and vulgaxanthin, are high in antioxidants and also have anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds also help with detoxification of the body. These betalain compounds can suppress cyclooxygenase enzymes, which can contribute to tumor growth. The beet greens also contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to keep eyes healthy. The epoxy xanthophyll carotenoids in beetroot help support the body’s nervous system, as well. Beetroot also contains trace amounts of amino acids, which contribute to building proteins in the body.
Both Have The Same Advantages and Disadvantages
There is one distinct advantage of beetroot juice and pills over just consuming beets whole. When you cook beets, you lose a significant portion of the nitrates. However, beetroot juice and pills contain all of the healthy nitrates that can help you reap the benefits of beetroot.
There is only one side effect of beetroot juice and pills, and that is that it may give your urine a slightly reddish color. This is completely harmless, and you should have nothing to worry about for long-term use of beetroot juice.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Many vegetables contain nitrate, but beetroot is one of the best sources. When you consume beetroot, your body converts the natural nitrate into nitric oxide, which relaxes muscles in blood vessel walls and lowers blood pressure. Researchers verified that drinking beetroot juice or taking in the pills can boost blood levels of nitric oxide and helps reduce blood pressure. Beetroot juice may also improve symptoms caused by another type of cardiovascular disease -- peripheral artery disease -- which reduces blood flow in legs and causes pain during walking.
Improves Athletic Performance
Consuming beetroot may boost athletic performance. Beetroot juice enhances nitric oxide production in muscles, which increases blood flow, improves levels of oxygen and may support muscle contraction.
Regulates Insulin Response
Beetroot contains natural antioxidants known as betaines, which are similar to other phytochemicals known to affect blood sugar. A research found the effect of beetroot on blood glucose. Beetroot can significantly lower blood sugar after consuming carbohydrates than the participants who did not consume beetroot. Researchers are beginning to study the potential of betaine and other phytochemicals to regulate blood sugar, and more studies are needed to verify their effectiveness.
Beetroot pills vs. juice - which one should you take? No matter what form you take in beetroot, whether juice or pills, they can still give you the nutrients your body needs.
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