Health Benefits of Beetroot
Beetroots come from the Chenopodiaceae family. Like many modern-day vegetables, they were first cultivated by the Romans which then found their way into Chinese culture and cuisine in later years. By the 19th Century, it was discovered that beets could be converted into sugar and hold aphrodisiac properties. In fact, beets are still used as a replacement or alternative for tropical sugar in modern countries. The health benefits of beets are numerous including as a treatment for heartburn and other heart-related problems, anemia, kidney ailments, constipation and piles, and cancer. Beetroots also help cure dandruff, improve blood circulation, prevent cataracts, and help in skin care. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, magnesium, iron, and minerals; moreover, they help boost heart and liver health. Beetroot leaves, or beetroot greens, are also edible – they have a slightly bitter taste that can be likened to chard.
Fun fact – Beetroots are generally deep purple and pinkish in color, but may also be white or golden.
Here are some health benefits of beets:
Lowers Blood Pressure:
It is a known fact that drinking beetroot juice reduces blood pressure in a matter of few hours. A recent study has found that drinking a single glass of beetroot juice may drastically lower systolic blood pressure. This may be due to the presence of nitrates in beets which are converted into nitric oxide upon consumption. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels and relaxes them, thereby improving the flow of blood and lowering blood pressure.
Improves Heart Health & Prevents Strokes:
The fiber in beets helps fight bad cholesterol by increasing the level of HDL cholesterol in the blood. Because triglycerides in the body can increase the risk of heart problems, consuming beetroot, which is rich in betaine, helps prevent cardiovascular diseases. It can prevent the onset of stroke, heart attacks and conditions such as atherosclerosis. The reason behind this finding is the richness of potassium in beetroot. Potassium is a vasodilator (relaxes the blood vessels and arteries, or dilates them), and prevents the formation of blood clots. Since blood clots are one of the major reasons for strokes and heart attacks, eating potassium-rich vegetables such as beets is a good idea.
Did you know that beetroots get their deep crimson hue from the pigment, betacyanins? The vegetable is also rich in phytonutrients that are believed to prevent cancer by fighting free radicals. Research shows that an extract made from beetroot and administered via water consumption has helped reduce tumor formation. It is now believed that beet extract may aid in the treatment of breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers in humans and prevent skin, lung, and colon cancer.
Provides Energy Boost:
If your body needs an energy boost, eat a beetroot. Beets contain a high dose of carbohydrates which can provide energy for prolonged physical activities, such as workouts or sports. We all know that ‘carbohydrates are the building blocks of energy’ and beets provide this energy boost without the added negative effects of other carb-rich foods. Research has found that candidates who drank beet juice before exercise were able to retain their stamina for a longer duration. So next time you’re planning to go for a particularly intense workout or take part in a sporting event, don’t forget to stock up on beet juice!
Works as an Aphrodisiac:
Beets have been considered as an aphrodisiac for thousands of years. There have been documented records of beetroot consumption as early as 9th century AD. The science behind this comes from the fact that beetroots contain a high dose of boron, a mineral that boosts the production of testosterone and progesterone, the two main hormones that aid in physical intimacy. Consumption of beets can boost one’s drive for physical intimacy and help increase fertility.
In the days of yore, beets were also used to cure indigestion, fever, and constipation. Its edible leaves were used to heal wounds by grinding and applying them in the affected region. Beet greens are also very helpful in boosting bone strength, preventing the onset of osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease, and detoxifying your body to a large extent. The best way to consume beet is to eat it raw. Make a simple salad, steam, toss them with a lemon-olive oil dressing, or make a smoothie. For an even stronger boost of beetroot flavor, try some ‘Borscht’. This traditional Russian soup is a powerhouse of flavors and nutrients.
So relish your beets and make sure to add them to meals in different ways, especially for kids who might get bored with the usual fare. And remember: a beet a day truly keeps the doctor away!
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