Beetroot: Properties and Benefits
Beetroot is a vegetable rich in minerals and vitamins, studies confirm that its juice has beneficial properties in relation to hypertension, here are all its health benefits
Beetroot, also known as table beet, is an annual herbaceous plant is characterized by interesting properties. It belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family and its scientific name is Beta vulgaris. The use of this vegetable for food purposes dates back to ancient times, so much so that it is even reported in a Babylonian papyrus.
Beetroot has stems that can reach a height of over a meter. Its leaves are heart-shaped, while the flowers are red or green with five petals. Its taste is sweet and earthy, the texture is tender.
In the Middle Ages this vegetable was used above all for the treatment of conditions related to digestion and blood.
In recent years, thanks also to scientific studies, beetroot has attracted much attention as a food with therapeutic properties. In particular it is rich in nutrients useful for improving cardiac and immune function. Drinking its juice is also one of the best ways to detoxify the body.
- Chemical Composition
- Weight Loss
- The Juice
- Blood Pressure
There are different types of beetroot: we find that from the vegetable garden, from sugar and from fodder, that is destined to feed the livestock. As for the varieties we mention only a few names such as the Bassano beetroot, the black flat one of Egypt, the red Chioggia, the long smooth, the Indian beetroot and the albino vereduna.
|Chemical composition for 100 g of beetroot|
Amino acids: aspartic acid and glutamic acid, arginine, alanine, cystine, glycine, phenylalanine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, proline, methionine, serine, tyrosine, tryptophan, valine and threonine.
The characteristic red color of this beet is due to the presence of a natural dye. His name is E 162. It is used in the food industry to improve the appearance of other foods.
Beetroot is rich in sugars and it is for this reason that diabetics must pay attention to the way and the dosages in which they consume it.
The caloric intake of beetroot is very low, 100 grams of edible pulp only have 43 kcal.
Beetroot: Properties and Benefits
Beetroot contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid that has been shown to reduce levels of blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity. A study published in Nutrition Reviews showed that alpha-lipoic acid has useful properties for patients with diabetic neuropathy. ( 1 )
Years ago beetroot jumped to the headlines because some studies conducted in Greece in 1983, published in the International Journal of Cancer, described the properties and beneficial effects that this vegetable could have in counteracting colon cancer.
In some animal studies, beetroot extract has been shown to reduce the growth of cancer cells. ( 2 )
In another test-tube study the same extract was shown to reduce the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells. ( 3 )
However, in-depth studies are still in progress on the anticancer properties of this vegetable. Research is currently underway on the benefits that beetroot extract could bring to the treatment of pancreatic, breast and prostate cancer.
The beetroot is a vegetable with excellent properties refreshing and remineralizing. Its intake, thanks to the abundance of saponins and mineral salts, is very suitable for weak children, convalescents and anemics.
Drinking beetroot juice increases blood flow to the brain in older people. This property can be a natural remedy for Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases.
A study conducted in the United States found that taking nitrates for 4 days in people over the age of 70 increased blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain. This area, according to the researchers, is associated with the degeneration that leads to cognitive disorders. ( 4 )
Another study from 2016 examined the effects of beetroot juice before physical activity in people over 55 years old. At the end of the tests the researchers found that the participants had neural networks more similar to those of young people. ( 5 )
The presence of vitamin C instead brings benefits to our immune system by strengthening it. Folic acid, in combination with betaine, strengthens the capillaries helping to keep the cardiovascular system healthy.
The anthocyanins, the water-soluble pigments present in abundance in this vegetable, belong to the flavonoid family and have strong antioxidant properties capable of bringing benefits to the micro circle and the heart in particular.
It also has excellent detoxifying properties. It seems that the beets help purify the blood and the liver. For this reason, eating red beetroot is an excellent aid in fighting liver diseases.
Counteract the Depression
The red beet contains betaine, a substance useful in combating depression. They also contain tryptophan which has the property of stimulating the brain to produce serotonin, a substance that immediately gives us a feeling of general well-being and tranquility.
Even for those who practice sport it is recommended to eat red beetroot regularly. This vegetable in fact, even if it is low in calories, contains a lot of sugar. This is released gradually into the body, thus providing a lot of energy in sports performance and for a prolonged time.
Even nitrates appear to affect physical performance by improving the efficiency of the mitochondria. In fact, according to this study, mitochondria are responsible for energy production in cells. ( 6 )
Other studies suggest that those who consume this plant can improve the athletic performance related to cycling. According to studies, consumption of red beet would increase oxygen use by 20%. ( 7 , 8 )
Researchers have pointed out that peaks of nitrates occur 2-3 hours after ingestion of beet. To optimize their potential it is therefore necessary to eat it 2 or 3 hours before the sporting performance. ( 9 )
A 2014 study found that the intake of red beet juice improved cyclist’s time trial performance. ( 10 )
Studies in this area are just beginning, most of them being conducted on rats. Some pigments present in this vegetable seem to have anti-inflammatory properties. For example, a study showed that beetroot juice and extract reduce inflammation of the kidneys in rats. ( 11 )
Another study conducted on human patients with osteoarthritis showed that beet extract reduces the pain associated with this condition. ( 12 )
This vegetable has few calories and is rich in water. There are several studies that suggest that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables makes you lose weight. Moreover, in addition to the basic calorie content, they also contain fiber and protein, both of which are useful for maintaining a healthy weight. ( 13 )
Fiber can also contribute to increasing satiety. This way you avoid having to consume extra calories during the day.
Not only beetroot is useful for our diet but also the leaves have good properties as they are rich in important nutrients such as phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B6 , vitamin C and potassium. In addition, the beetroot leaves contain more iron than spinach.
Red Beet Juice
The centrifuged beetroot juice has very interesting properties. Here’s what:
Lower the Pressure
Studies conducted in England at The London school of Medicine have shown that drinking about half a liter of beetroot juice daily reduces the pressure. The results would be visible after just a few days, with a clear drop in hypertension. ( 14 , 15 , 16 )
Further studies suggest that this property is more effective in raw rather than cooked red beets. ( 17 )
This ability to lower blood pressure is known to lead to the good presence of nitrates. In our body nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels causing a drop in pressure. For further information you can consult this study in English. ( 18 )
It should be noted that nitrate levels remain high for only 6 hours in the body after eating the beets. The effect is therefore only temporary on blood pressure. In order for the effect to last, according to this study a regular consumption of red beet is necessary. ( 19 )
The raw beetroot juice is particularly suitable for all people suffering from anemia, as it promotes the formation of red blood cells in the blood.
It can happen that after consuming the beetroot your urine takes on a pinkish or reddish color. This does not have to worry because 15% of the population reacts in this way to the compounds present in this vegetable.
It contains oxalates, compounds that prevent calcium from being absorbed by the body, thus allowing calcium to accumulate in the kidneys forming calculations. If you are a person with kidney stone problems it is best to limit your consumption of oxalates.
Eating red beetroot can make the color of urine pink or red: this is absolutely normal and does not involve any problem even if, in some cases, it could indicate a deficiency or an excess of iron in the body.
The beetroot can be eaten raw, baked, boiled, pureed or extracting the juice.
The beet makes its first appearance with the name Beta in some writings dating back to the Greeks 420 BC.
The development of beet cultivation is a direct consequence of the discovery that sugar could be extracted from them.
In Europe its cultivation was already widespread in the fifteenth century, initially due to the use of its leaves but later on the use of its roots also spread, especially for the red beetroot.
In the area of Chioggia, unlike the other places, the red beet has a particular precocity and can reach two annual productions, one spring and one autumn. In other places the production is only summer.
Maybe not Everyone Knows That
The ancient Romans thought that beetroot was aphrodisiac. The belief is now supported by the science that has shown that eating beetroot stimulates the production of sex hormones.
The leaves can be eaten and cooked like any other vegetable of the genus, either alone or in conjunction with others.
The beneficial effects of this vegetable are given by a very complex chemical reaction during which the nitrates contained in them are converted by the bacteria of our mouth into nitrites. Once in our body, they become fundamental molecules for the control of blood pressure.
Beetroot: Properties and Benefits
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