Beetroot Nutritional Benefits

March 6, 2013 Nutrition

beetrootBeetroot may not be the tastiest vegetable but its properties make it worthy of our attention. The most common kind of beets are red beets which contain betalain pigments: betanin and betacyanins with anti-oxidant properties.

Regular consumption of beetroot has many nutritional benefits, as it is rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. Beet can protect the blood vessels against coronary heart diseases and peripheral vascular disease and lower the level of bad cholesterol, especially through its fibre, carotenoids and flavonoids content. Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association published an article which read that drinking 500 ml of beet juice can reduce the level of hypertension only an hour later.

If you are planning to have a baby soon you should make a habit out of drinking beet juice or eating it in salads. The main reason for doing so is that it’s rich in folates – 100 g of raw beet contain 75% of RDA for an adult woman (according to McCance & Widdowson 6th edn.)- and can prevent neural tube defects of the baby, such as spina bifida. Moreover, its B-complex vitamins and minerals – iron, magnesium, copper and manganese fight against anemia and fatigue. It can also be a good tonic during periods of physical and intellectual efforts.

Red beet has detoxifying properties and improves the functions of the liver thanks to the betanin it contains. Frequent consumption of beetroot improves digestion and removes constipation, as well as excess water.

A study by Wake Forest University in North Carolina, USA, quoted by the same source,  showed that beetroot increases blood flow to the brain and plays a part in protecting against dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Thanks to the mineral silica, beetroot also helps the body to use calcium, thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

In order to enjoy all its properties, avoid extra-large beets as they are likely to contain pesticide. Choose organic ones or farmer markets products.

If you are not a big fan of the beetroot taste you can try a juice obtained from one beet, one carrot and one apple. It has a really good taste. Or make salads of beets, carrots, black radish, celery, and red cabbage, with salt, olive oil and lemon.

After several days of eating beets and its greens you may find that the urine took a reddish colour. In this case chances are that you cannot break down the betacyanin pigment. Don’t worry, it’s not a harmful condition. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t use it in your daily diet (especially its top greens) in case of known urinary tract stones.