Some Amazing Health Benefits Of Beetroot Or Beet

Source

About The Beet Plant

Latin Name : Beta vulgaris.

Beet is a plant from the Chenopod family.There are numerous cultivated varieties of beet. Beetroot or garden beet is the most well known. Others that are cultivated are chard and spinach beet which are used as leafy vegetables, sugar beet from which table sugar is produced and mangelwurzel which is used as fodder.

Beet plant grows to a height of 4 to 6 feet. Its leaves are heart shaped and the roots are dark red to deep purple in color. However, some varieties of golden yellow and some of red and white striped colors are also seen. The roots are sweet to taste.

Beet has been cultivated since ancient times in Babylonia, around 800 BC and then in China, around 850 AD. Beet assumed commercial importance in the 19th century when sugar beet cultivation was started in Germany.

Today, sugar beet is cultivated extensively and widely for the production of table sugar.

Beet contains betalain pigments. Betalains are less stable than other red pigments like anthocyanins. Hence, when beet is cooked the betalain is continuously being lost as the cooking time is extended.

It has been found that steaming beets for a period of up to 15 minutes and roasting for less than an hour causes the least amount of loss of this phytonutrient.

Uses Of Beet

  • Chard and spinach leaves are cooked and consumed as a vegetable.
  • The roots of garden beet or beet are eaten after boiling or steaming, or raw as in salads or as a soup and as a pickle.
  • The betalain pigments are used by the food industry to provide color to tomato pastes, sauces, jams, jellies and in icecreams, cereals etc.
  • Beetroot is used to make wine.
  • Beet pulp is fed to horses that are being trained and to those that are allergic to hay.
  • Varieties with large colored leaves are used for decorative purposes.

half cut beet
half cut beet | Source

Medicinal Uses Of Beet

Traditionally, the roots and leaves of the beet plant have been used to treat a variety of health issues like fever, constipation, wounds etc. Beet soup was given as a laxative.

Beetroot juice was given to enhance libido. Beet was also used to treat digestive issues and blood problems. Beet was eaten along with garlic to prevent 'garlic breath'.

Nutrients In Beetroot

  • Beet is very low in calories - only 45 calories in 100 gms, no cholesterol and very low in fat.
  • The root is very rich in the phytochemical betaine and folates with 100 gms containing about 27% of RDA of folates.
  • The leaves are also rich in carotenoids, flavonoids and Vitamin A, the amounts in leaves being several times more than in the roots.
  • The leaves have excellent amounts of Vitamin C - 100 gms providing about 50% of the daily requirements.
  • Beetroot is rich in BComplex vitamins like niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and minerals copper, magnesium, iron and manganese.
  • It also contains good amounts of potassium - about 7% of the daily requirement in 100 grams.

Nutrients In Beetroot

(click column header to sort results)
   
Beets (Beta vulgaris), fresh, raw  
   
 
Nutrition value per 100 g
 
 
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
 
Principle
Nutrient value
Percentage of RDA
Energy
45 cal
2%
Carbohydrates
9.56 g
7%
Protein
1.61 g
1%
Total Fat
0.17 g
0.50%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Dietary Fiber
2.80 g
7%
Vitamins
 
 
Folates
109 micro gm
27%
Niacin
0.334 mg
2%
Pantothenic acid
0.155 mg
3%
Pyridoxine
0.067 mg
5%
Riboflavin
0.057 mg
4%
Thiamin
0.031 mg
2.50%
Vitamin A
33 IU
1%
Vitamin C
4.9 mg
8%
Vitamin E
0.04 mg
0.50%
Vitamin K
0.2 micro gm
0%
Electrolytes
 
 
Sodium
78 mg
5%
Potassium
325 mg
7%
Minerals
 
 
Calcium
16 mg
1.50%
Copper
0.075 mg
8%
Iron
0.80 mg
10%
Magnesium
23 mg
6%
Manganese
0.329 mg
14%
Zinc
0.35 mg
3%
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
Beta Carotene
20 micro gm
--
Betaine
128.7 mg
--
Lutein-zeaxanthin
0 micro gm
--

Health Benefits Of Beetroot

  • For Good Health

Beet contains the pigments betalains. Betalains are of 2 types :

  1. Betacyanins
  2. Betaxanthins

Betacyanin is dark red, crimson and purple colored while Betaxanthin is yellow colored. The betalains have antioxidant, anti inflammatory and detoxifying properties.

  • An Antioxidant

Most vegetables get their red color from the anthocyanins but beetroot gets it in a major way from the betalains. This uniqueness of the anti oxidant source gives beets the specific benefit to be of value in promoting eye health as well as nervous tissue health.

Apart from this, beet also contains the usual carotenoid phytonutrients.

  • An Anti Inflammatory

Phytonutrients like betanin, iso betanin and vulgaxanthin are great inflammation reducers and this property especially benefits in heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Beets apart from betalains and carotenoid phytonutrients contain betaine. Betaine is made from choline. Choline itself prevents the build up of homocysteine, whose increased levels raise the risk of atherosclerosis.

However, betaine presence in diet is even more important to lower inflammation as its presence has shown to lower the levels of several inflammatory triggers.

The sum total effect of the various anti inflammatory factors provide not only cardiovascular benefits but anti inflammatory benefits for other body systems.

  • As A Detoxifier

Betalain pigments aid the hook up process of the toxins by our body cells, thereby neutralizing them and effecting their removal from the body.

  • Reducing Cancer Risk

The anti oxidant and anti inflammatory property of beet reduces risk of various cancers of the colon, breast, nerves, lungs, prostrate, testes, and stomach.

Beet fiber specially improves the digestive tract health, prevents colon cancer and also benefits the cardiovascular health due the presence of the pectin polysachharides.

Beet And Weight Loss

  • Beet is very low in fat, cholesterol and is free of saturated fat.
  • It is high in soluble and insoluble fiber having equal quantities of both types of fiber.
  • Half a cup of cooked beet has 37 calories. These keep one full longer and prevent overeating.
  • Beet promotes metabolism of fat cells and makes the liver healthy thereby promoting fat loss by breaking down fats more efficiently. Betaine and choline in beet reduce fat.

All these factors make beet a wonderful vegetable for weight loss.

Beet And Blood Pressure

Drinking 500 ml of beet juice reduces blood pressure as reported by Science daily. Studies at Barts and The London School Of Medicine show that blood pressure got reduced one hour after consuming beet juice and it continued to drop for 3 to 4 hours after it was consumed.

Beets And Cholesterol

Beet does not contain cholesterol. The fiber in beet contains pectin polysaccharides. This reduces LDL and increases HDL.
According to a study by the Research Institute of Nutrition, Bratishava, Slovak Republic, red beet reduced cholesterol.
A Korean study in laboratory animals showed that beet powder increased cholesterol levels.

Beet And Diarrhea

In those with a sensitive digestive system, beet consumption may cause digestive discomfort like flatulence, bloating, abdominal pain. The fructans (chain of fructose molecules) found in beet, can cause this, by fermenting in the bowels.

Though beet juice relieves constipation, it can stop diarrhea since it detoxifies the liver. However, too much of it can lead to diarrhea.

Beetroot And Diabetes

Though beet has a moderately high Glycemic Index of 64, it has a low Glycemic Load of 5. Hence beet consumption will keep the blood glucose at a steady level, if one sticks to about 1/2 a cup of beets, at one time.

Also, beet heals nerve damage in those with diabetes, according to Joan Salge-Blake - MS, RD, LDN - a clinical associate professor at Boston University and author of "Nutrition and You Core Concepts To Good Health".

The fiber in beet lowers risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetics can eat beet but need to go easy on the amount consumed.

Beets And Cancer

The betanin pigments in beet have been shown to reduce tumor growths, in laboratory studies on human tumor cells, by inhibiting the pro-inflammatory enzymes.

Cancers of the breast, prostrate, testes, stomach and especially colon are reduced.

Beetroot Benefits For Skin

Beetroot juice increases blood in the body and removes toxins as it is a cleansing agent.
Beetroot pulp applied on the face and left for sometime gives a glowing skin as it provides iron and vitamins to the skin.

Beet Juice And Dementia

Consumption of beet juice increases blood flow to the brain and in aged people helps to fight dementia.

Beets contain nitrates that are converted to nitrites in the mouth by the bacteria in the saliva. Using a mouthwash 15 minutes before consuming beets, showed a lower level of nitrites in the blood, since those helpful bacteria were killed by the mouthwash.

These nitrites expand the blood vessels thus increasing blood flow to all parts of the body including the brain.
Hence, mouthwash should not be used around the time food is consumed.

Beetroot In Pregnancy

Beetroot contains folic acid in abundance. This is absolutely necessary for proper development of not only the foetus but also for the development of the spinal column of the foetus.

Because of the presence of a good number of vitamins and minerals, beetroot boosts immunity. The iron content prevents anemia in pregnancy.

References

http://www.calorieking.com/learnabouts/What-Is-Calorie-Density_MTAyMg.html
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080205123825.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2788198/?tool=pubmed
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10907240?dopt=Abstract
http://www.collectivewizdom.com/BeetsandBowelMovements.html
http://sacfs.asn.au/download/SueShepherd_sarticle.pdf
http://forecast.diabetes.org/magazine/food-thought/5-superfoods-you-should-eat%E2%80%94-probably-dont
http://sweatscience.com/how-nitrate-and-beets-work-and-why-mouthwash-is-bad/
http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/Blog/Amy-Campbell/food-group-superfoods-vegetables-part-5/ http://www.naturalnews.com/035377_beets_cancer_cardiovascular_disease.html http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20101103/beet-juice-good-for-brain

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Indian Vegetarian Soup - Beetroot Soup Recipe

Beetroot Thoran - An Indian Recipe

Beet Pickle

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly

More by this Author


Comments 44 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Hah!!! I actually eat and like beets. Finally, something I already eat....but I did not know all the benefits, so once again a wonderfully informative hub!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Bill. I'm glad you do. Thanks for reading and appreciating. Thanks for the continued support.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States

Great information. I had no idea that beets were so nutritious! I like beets but seldom have them. I think I forget about them but I won't now. They are going on my grocery list!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Hi Sinea,

Glad you liked the information. Thanks for stopping by.


eHealer profile image

eHealer 4 years ago from Las Vegas

Hi Rajan, I don't know what I would do without beets. I have a very naughty gallbladder and it gives me horrible attacks. I follow a low fat diet, and eat beets every day. I've been doing this about 4 months, and have not had an attacks since! It is amazing, but true. It's great to have these recipes, I am getting a little tired of just "beets." If I eat them in these recipes, will it still work for my gallbladder? Thanks Rajan!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

Beetroot is very tasty and healthy but it has too much sugar. Great hub with lots of interesting facts and information.


Mama Kim 8 profile image

Mama Kim 8 4 years ago

I never had beets but have always wanted to try them ^_^ All the information is great and I love the recipe ideas. Now I have no excuses ^_^ Wonderful hub! Voted a bunch!


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

A most informative and helpful hub, rajan jolly! When it comes to commenting on your portfolio of literary productions, the words, "congratulations" and "thank you", are my favorites to use. I'm learning a lot from you!


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

I actually love beets. The problem is getting my wife around them. She can't stand the smell, which is hardly noticeable to me. My mother always had me eat them, which I did without problem, even thought she told me they were good for me. (That usually meant they weren't tasty when she'd say something like that.) Had no idea as to the vast array of health benefits! Great Job!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

awesome hub Rajan, very informative and one an learn a lot thru your hub alone.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

We eat huge amounts of veggies but rarely beets. I am now inspired to add them to our diet. Lots of good vitamins, minerals and healthy benefits. Thanks for this very comprehensive hub. Voting UP.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Hi Deborah,

Sorry to learn about these gallbladder attacks. Raw beet or beet juice is the best. Cooking will destroy betalains and these phytonutrients are the main anti inflammatory substance. I would not ask you to cook beet though I understand it gets tiring to consume the same thing everyday.

I appreciate your visit. Thank you.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ Vellur - Thanks for the visit Nithya.

@ MamaKim - Sasha, maybe you should include beet into your diet plans now. Thanks for reading and voting.

@ hawaiianodeysseus - I appreciate your visit and comments. Thank you very much.

@ rcrumple - Thanks for reading and leaving your feedback, Rich. Appreciate it very much.

@ spy - thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated.

@ Carol - Nice to know you are motivated to try beets. Thanks for these inspiring comments and visit.


eHealer profile image

eHealer 4 years ago from Las Vegas

Thanks Rajan, I will continue with the raw and juice. I had a feeling it would not be the same if I cooked it, thanks! You are great!


Harsha Vardhana R profile image

Harsha Vardhana R 4 years ago from Bangalore

I like red beetroots. Very early in life, I was told good for blood as it is red!

South Indian food has regular use for beet. I would take more with awareness!


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 4 years ago from Upstate New York

I love beets! In fact, I am roasting some for dinner tonight. They are also fantastic added to a fresh veggie juice. I will be coming back to check out the videos for more ideas of how to prepare what has become one of my favorite veggies. Voted up and sharing.


JCielo profile image

JCielo 4 years ago from England

I'm especially interested in beetroot as a natural anti-inflamatory since inflammation in the body is at the root (no pun intended!) of most of our wellness problems. Voted up and useful Rajan.


denisemai profile image

denisemai 4 years ago from Idaho

I can't stand the taste of beets but include it in my juice for color and nutrients. I've heard that you should only add a little at a time, though, because the juice is very potent and can overwhelm your system. Don't know if that's actually true but I'm too fearful to test it.

I'm so happy you brought up sugar! I buy sugar produced by sugar beets exclusively because I know that I am supporting my local Idaho farmers. My father-in-law grew sugar beets until he retired.

Great informative article. I like your style! Sharing on HP.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ Deborah - I'm glad you agree. Thanks.

@ Harsha - Yes, beets increase the hemoglobin contents of blood. Thanks for reading.

@ donnah - Thanks for your input. Appreciate your reading and sharing the hub. Thanks.

@ John - I absolutely agree. Inflammation is at the root of a majority of health issues. Thanks for reading and appreciate your votes.

@ denise - it is always advised to stay on the safe side even with healthy foods. Glad to have your input. T

Thanks for appreciating and sharing.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and useful. Thanks for another very interesting and informative hub. Some things I knew some I just learned. Love beets and eat them hot and cold. In fact this beet lover has even boiled beets sprinkled on some salt or garlic salt and eaten them like boiled eggs. Passing this on.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks, Gypsy, for the read and share.


YogaKat profile image

YogaKat 4 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

I love beets. Itʻs great to know they have so many health benefits. I am going to try a few of the recipes. Very thorough research . . .I enjoyed reading.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

I'm glad you like the information. Thanks for reading.


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Rajan,

Thank you for this very useful and informative hub on beets.

I like beets but I don't eat them often.

I knew that parsley got rid of garlic breath but didn't know that beet root did.

Voted up and awesome.

Take care :)


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Hi Susie,

I hope this information will goad you to eat more of this red beet. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Have a nice day.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK

Very interesting to read.

I enjoy your health Hubs.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thank you, Lady_E.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

As usual, you provide a wealth of health information about a plan. But even despite all these benefits, I don't think I'll be eating beet. I've tasted it before and to me it has a strong dirt flavor. Voting this Up and Useful anyway.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Aurelio, may be you could try mixing apple or some other sweet juice to make the taste palatable. Thanks for the votes and visit.


dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 4 years ago from India

I love to use beetroots. I used to make a Russian dish called Borsh or otherwise beetroot soup. Thanks for sharing the health benefits. SHARED!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Glad you like the write up, dinkan. Appreciate the votes, sharing and visit.


SommerDalton profile image

SommerDalton 4 years ago

Voted up and more!!! Very informative!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Sommer. Glad you liked.


healthylife2 profile image

healthylife2 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

Very comprehensive discussion as always. I didn't realize the leaves had value and that the juice could lower blood pressure. The health benefits of vegetables and safe natural plants is truly amazing. Voted up and shared!


CR Rookwood profile image

CR Rookwood 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

I love beets and beet greens too. Now I know why! Thank you. :)


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Rajan jolly, we love beets in my family and eat them every chance we get. They are indeed very good for us. Thank you for the great information and now my mouth is watering for beets. That is a good thing though. laugh


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ healthylife - the full potential of natural plants have not been exploited. With the emphasis now on more things natural, maybe we will come to know more about the wonders of the health benefits of these plants.

Thanks for stopping by, voting and sharing.

@ CR Rookwood - many thanks for reading and leaving your comments.

@ Hyphenbird - thanks for reading and leaving your input. Glad you like the information. Thank you.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I have learned some excellent facts here about the benefits of beets. I include them in my salads.

It's wonderful to find confirmation like this. You have provided good information and your list of benefits tells me I should increase my portions.

Thank you for putting this together - most helpful and voted up and more + sharing.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I like and eat beets but I never gave them a whole lot of thought. Interesting hub.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks for reading and commenting dahoglund.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks for reading and commenting dahoglund.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks for the compliments Audrey. Nice to know you include these healthy beets in your diet.

I appreciate your sparing time to read and leave comments. Thank you for sharing it too.


Made profile image

Made 4 years ago from Finland

I have beets in my garden. I didn't know you could use the whole beet. I have just eaten the root, but now I'll definitely use the stalks and the leaves too - thanks to this hub. The videos are great! I didn't know beets have these many benefits. This is a great, well-written and informative hub! Voting and sharing!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Nice to know you'll be using beet stalks & leaves. They have quite some nutrition in them too. Feels good to know that this hub provided you with some extra information.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate the votes and sharing.

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