Last Updated October 11th, 2019
What are beets?
Beets are the root portion of the vegetable that contains several health benefits. It is a common perception that vegetables are very much beneficial for human health. And beets are one among them. This bright red vegetable has much to offer you than you could ever imagine. Beetroots are rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Beetroots were traditionally used to treat several ailments and improve the performance of athletes by boosting energy levels.
The beet is a bulbous region of the vegetable plant. The leaves of the beets are used in salads or can be blended into a nutritious drink. Beets contain high sugar content and surprisingly low calories. It also contains organic compounds like carotenoids, lutein or zeaxanthin, glycine, betaine, dietary fiber, and vitamin C.
History of beets
Based on oldest archaeological evidence beetroots in ancient times were found on the Neolithic site of Aartswoud in the Netherlands and in Saqqara pyramid at Thebes, Egypt. Around 300BC the Greeks began cultivating beetroot. However, the consumption of the bulbous root was limited to its leaves. Modern beetroot appeared in the 16th and 17th century in Europe. It became popular in central and eastern Europe after a few hundred years.
The cultivation of beetroots is done as follows; the beetroots should be sown 2 cms deep into the soil. Seeds or seedlings should be sown at a distance of 5 to 10 cms and it is better to plant them in rows. It is believed that beetroots grow better in cool conditions. Garden beets can be grown on a variety of soils but well-drained loams and sandy loams are considered the best.
Why are beets so healthy?
Reduces blood pressure
Research has proved that the consumption of beet juice on a regular basis helps reduce blood pressure. Beets help lower elevated levels in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Beets help in reducing the blood pressure by naturally converting nitrates into nitric oxide. The nitric oxide created helps to relax and dilate blood vessels. As the blood vessels dilate it improves the blood flow and as a result, reduces blood pressure.
Aids in cancer prevention
Beet contains phytonutrients (a substance found in certain plants which are believed to be beneficial to human health and help prevent various diseases) like betalains. Beets also contain the pigment betacyanin, these two compounds help fight against cancer by preventing the growth of cancer cells. Beets are beneficial in preventing colon and skin cancer. The intake of beetroot juice helped treat people affected with cancer.
Beneficial in preventing birth defects
Beetroots contain a high level of vitamin B, folate, or folic acid. The consumption of beetroots during pregnancy helps reduce the risk of giving birth to a baby with abnormalities. Beetroot juice, when taken during the first trimester of pregnancy, helps reduce the risk of conceiving children with brain, spine, or spinal cord defects. Studies have also shown that it aids in preventing miscarriage.
The intake of beetroot juice increases plasma nitrate levels which are responsible for boosting physical activity and performance. The nitric oxide that is present in the body helps to reduce the amount of oxygen released for low-intensity exercises and on the other hand, it enhances tolerance during a high-intensity workout.
Provides good cardiovascular health
The consumption of beet juice reduces the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Beetroot consists of a beneficial nutrient, betaine, which is responsible for reducing the levels of homocysteine. The constant intake of beet juice helps prevent the development in conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
Helps in detoxification
The phase 2 detoxification process is supported by the pigment betalain, produced from beetroot. These betalain pigments help the broken down toxins club together and pave a way for the same to get excreted from the body. Beets apart from detoxifying your body they also enhance the purification of your blood and liver.
A liver friendly vegetable
Beetroots contain essential nutrients which are necessary to maintain liver health. The following nutrients in beetroots enhance liver health; they are calcium, betaine, vitamin B, iron, and antioxidants. It helps to transport the bile in an orderly fashion and prevents pressure on the liver. The fibers present in beets help remove the toxin without causing any harm to the liver or the body.
Substituted as an aphrodisiac
Beets are named as “nature’s viagra” due to its nitrate content. Beets increases nitric oxide formation and boost the circulation to the penis. This boost in circulation leads to better erection for men during intercourse. It, therefore, helps boost your libido, fertility, and sperm mobility. The intake of beetroot also helps fight rigidity with your partner and makes you last longer in bed.
Helps prevent cataract
The beta-carotene present in beetroot helps prevent the formation of cataract. Cataract is a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision. The duration of the presence of cataract can lead to blindness that affects elderly people. The consumption of beet prevents macular degeneration and helps you have healthy eyes.
Prevents respiratory problems
Beetroot consists of vitamin C which is a powerful nutrient that helps strengthen your immune system. It also provides antioxidant properties that protect the body against free radical and stimulates the white blood cells to perform a protective cover against alien or foreign bodies. This also prevents the lungs from getting attacked and in the long run prevents lung cancer.
Aids in digestion
Beets have been medically linked to treat and improve poor digestion. Beets aid in digestion as they are rich in dietary fibers. The consumption of beetroot excites the nerves in the intestines and increases the body ability to digest the food.
Improves brain health
Beets are amazing brain foods that play a vital role in slowing down dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Beet juice increases the flow of blood to the brain and contributes to fighting symptoms associated with dementia. Based on a 2010 study, it was evidently proved that a high-nitrate diet led to an increase in blood flow to the white matter of the frontal lobes. These frontal lobes are the areas of the brain linked to degeneration from dementia and other cognitive disorders. The folic acid presence in beet helped increase healthy brain cells and enhanced the development of memory and learning.
Improves skin health
Beets have a natural tendency to purify your blood and can make you glow on the outside. They contain high levels of vitamin C which are responsible for clearing blemishes on your skin and help to neutralize your skin tone, thereby giving it a natural glow.
Avoid excess beet consumption
- The excessive consumption of beet can lead to beeturia. Beeturia is termed for a condition that occurs when the excessive intake of beet causes the urine to appear pink. This condition is said to be worst in individuals affected with iron deficiency.
- Beets are rich in oxalate and can cause the development of kidney stones. You are safe you don’t have a history of kidney stones but if you did then it is best to refrain from taking beets. The intake of beet causes an increase in urinary oxalate excretion and this in return leads to the development of calcium oxalate stones.
- Beetroot can be allergic to certain people and can result in rashes, hives, itchiness, and in severe cases, chills and fever. Though its allergic reaction is a rarely found condition, it is safe to avoid when such development is
- The chemical betacyanin present in beetroot is accountable for the bright red color in beetroot. This chemical can react with the digestive system and cause the stools to appear colored. Though it isn’t a condition to be much worried about, precaution can be taken and the same can be avoided.
- When a healthy person adds excessive beets to their diets they tend to experience a sudden decrease in blood pressure which can be very unhealthy.
- It is always safe to avoid beets for people those who are already suffering from gastrointestinal problems. The consumption of beets aggravates the condition and lead to bloating flatulence (the accumulation of gas in the alimentary canal), and cramping. In certain circumstances, it may cause gas pains. The gas gets accumulated in the stomach and causes pain. This is because of the fiber content in beet that is responsible for developing the gas in the stomach.
- People diagnosed with high sugar levels should be wise enough to avoid the consumption of beets. Beets rate high in the glycemic index or have high sugar levels when consuming them they elevated the sugar level and can lead to further complications.
- Beets should be avoided for people suffering from arthritis. The oxalate properties in beet can lead to gout which is a type of arthritis that is caused due to the excessive presence of uric acid and is found in the base of the toe.
- Beet contains an array of nutrients that may cause harm to the liver in the long run. It is safe to limit the consumption of beets.
- It may cause nausea and vomiting as it doesn’t shadow a pleasant flavor.
- It can affect the vocal cords and cause a feeling of tightness.
- The increased intake of beets can lower the levels of calcium and cause many bone-related ailments.
- During the cleansing reaction in the body, it may counter-react and cause a dizzy feeling.
Beets for you…
The consumption of beetroot is yet to be tabulated and it is always safer to consume them to a limited amount. Beets are basically healthy and are one of the healthiest vegetables. Irrespective of the way it is prepared it nurtures the body with the essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. This is a vegetable which can both be loved and hated depending on the way it is prepared. There are some people who prefer to have it in a salad while some are habituated to have it as a juice. Beets are inexpensive vegetables that contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
Though its precautionary warnings may seem frightening, their health benefit outweighs the same and it is always good to take beets in a limited quantity. Beets are available in every nook and corner of the world. It is always good to give a test before you start on a beetroot routine. Beet doesn’t just improve cardiovascular endurance but also enhances the overall efficiency of the body.
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