There are one thousand and one fruits and vegetables in the world, some of which we have never seen. You might have come across some strange looking fruits or vegetables and considered them weeds because you had never seen them before. You might also hear about some without actually seeing how they look like. Beetroot might just be one of such vegetables you have heard of without seeing, or seen without knowing.
What is beetroot?
Beets or beetroots, as they are often called, belong to the Chenopodiaceous family just like spinach. Their history stretches back to ancient times, and the earliest signs of their cultivation was approximately 4,000 years ago in the Mediterranean region.
Beetroot is also known as red beet, golden beet, table beet or garden beet. Apart from its use as food, it is also a medicinal plant, and also used for food colouring. Beets are extremely healthy as they have potent medicinal properties and offer relief in the case of various ailments and diseases.
Health benefits of beetroot.
Beets contain betaine: Betaine is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that supports heart health as well as important vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B1, B2, B12 and C, copper, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, and iodine. Beets boost blood flow, regulate cholesterol levels, and support healthy functioning of the liver.
Beets fight anemia and detoxify the body. Consuming beets also decelerates aging and protects the blood vessels. They are high in antioxidants, cellulose, and pectin, a special type of fiber which boosts digestion. Beets can be eaten raw, juiced, cooked, and baked. You should not throw away the leaves; they are rich in potassium (644 mg. per ½ a cup).
Good for Heart Health: Studies have shown that the consumption of potassium-rich foods and the elimination of sodium can lower the risk of heart diseases, including stroke, by 21%. Beet fiber helps to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides by increasing the level of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol). The presence of the nutrient betaine lowers the levels of homocysteine in the body which can be harmful to the blood vessels. Thus, consumption of beetroot helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases in multiple ways.
Reduces Birth Defects: Beets are good for pregnant women since they are a source of B vitamin folate which helps in the development of infant’s spinal column. Deficiency of folate could lead to a variety of conditions called neural tube defects.
Prevent Certain Cancers: Studies have revealed that beets are good at preventing skin, lung, and colon cancers, since they contain the pigment betacyaninis, which counteracts cancerous cell growth. Nitrates used in meats as preservatives can stimulate the production of nitrosamine compounds in the body which can also result in cancer. Studies further shows that beet juice inhibits the cell mutations caused by these compounds. Researchers in Hungary have also discovered that beet juice and its powdered form slow down tumour development. Adding a healthy weekly number of beets to your diet can keep your body cancer-free for a very long time.
Aphrodisiac: Beets have been considered an aphrodisiac or libido booster for millennia. Part of this stems from the fact that beets contain significant levels of the mineral boron, which has been shown to boost the production of sexual hormones. This can lead to a boost in libido, increased fertility, sperm mobility improvement, and a reduction in frigidity.
Boosts Energy Levels
Beets contain a significant amount of carbohydrates which provides fuel for energy and prolonged sports activities. These are the natural building blocks of energy metabolism, and beets provide them without the negative side effects of many other carbohydrate-heavy foods. When the body has a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, it is able to fuel all of the necessary bodily functions as well, including the important metabolic reactions that keep your organ systems functioning efficiently. Beetroots are also valuable as a source of sucrose, which makes them a viable replacement for tropical sugarcane. They are still frequently used to make refined sugar.
A Few Words of Warning: Beets contain oxalates, which when consumed in excess can cause bodily fluids to crystallize. People with kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid beetroots because they could exacerbate kidney and bladder stones.