Some Amazing Health Benefits of Beetroot or Beet
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 colour 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 coloured leaves are used for decorative purposes.
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 B-Complex 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
Beets (Beta vulgaris), fresh, raw
Nutrition value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
109 micro gm
0.2 micro gm
20 micro gm
0 micro gm
Health Benefits Of Beetroot
- For Good Health
Beet contains the pigments betalains. Betalains are of 2 types :
Betacyanin is dark red, crimson and purple coloured while Betaxanthin is yellow-coloured. The betalains have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.
- An Antioxidant
Most vegetables get their red colour from the anthocyanins but beetroot gets it in a major way from the betalains. This uniqueness of the antioxidant 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 hookup the process of the toxins by our body cells, thereby neutralizing them and effecting their removal from the body.
- Reducing Cancer Risk
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property of beet reduces the risk of various cancers of the colon, breast, nerves, lungs, prostate, testes, and stomach.
Beet fibre especially improves the digestive tract health, prevents colon cancer and also benefits cardiovascular health due to the presence of the pectin polysaccharides.
Beet And Weight Loss
- Beet is very low in fat, cholesterol and is free of saturated fat.
- It is high in a soluble and insoluble fibre having equal quantities of both types of fibre.
- 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.
How to Make Beet Juice
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 fibre in beet lowers the 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 tumour growths, in laboratory studies on human tumour cells, by inhibiting the pro-inflammatory enzymes.
Cancers of the breast, prostate, 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 some time 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 the 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 anaemia in pregnancy.
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
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.
Some Beet Recipe Hubs
- Roasted Beet Garlic Salad Recipe DIY Beet Wine
Roasted Beets with roasted garlic is an easy, healthy family recipe. Eating beets will cleanse out your blood and your liver. Drinking beet juice is a powerful re-hydration for your body and does increase your energy. The video... Beets and Beet Juic
- Grilled Salmon with Beetroot, Tomato and Red Bell Pepper Salad
Ideal summer lunch for two: grilled salmon with a colorful beetroot, tomato and red bell pepper raw salad recipe, healthy, natural, beautiful and deliciously juicy (includes optional green walnut and Roquefort salad starter for a complete menu).
Some of my other hubs on Healthy Foods
- Oats And Oatmeal Health Benefits
Oats are a nutrient dense food low in calories. Also, a bowl of oatmeal provides more than half of the daily value of omega-3 fatty acids as double the daily value for manganese. To find out many more like health benefits of oats and oatmeal, read on
- Health Benefits Of Coconut, Coconut Oil, Coconut Milk And Coconut Water
Coconut is called a wonder food since it is almost a perfect meal. In the Vedas it has been called 'Kalpa Vriksha' meaning the tree which provides all necessities of life. It is used in many rituals and ceremonies apart from its use as food in a vari
- The Health Benefits Of Dates
Dates are one of the sweetest and most nourishing of fruits. They act not only as a quick energy fix but also as a source of high medicinal and nutritional value. To know more about the health benefits of dates, read on...
- Some Amazing Benefits Of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds, the wonder food, also called the Running Food
Indian Vegetarian Soup - Beetroot Soup Recipe
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly