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Health Benefits of Beetroot or Beets

Updated on December 21, 2017
jlpark profile image

Jacqui is an RCompN in New Zealand, with 15+ years of experience. She writes on a number of health topics that she has experience in.

Beetroot or Beets

Beetroot (or Beets,for the Americans) - you either love them or hate them. But have you ever wondered if it's actually any good for your health? The good news is - YES, it is!

Beetroot has a number of health benefits, including boosting stamina and reducing blood pressure, as well as containing potassium, magnesium, iron and Vitamins A, B6, C and Folic Acid. Combine this with it's share of carbohydrates, protein and soluble fibre - and you have a "Superfood".

Let's look at some of those health benefits:

Super Juice?!

Beetroot Juice - one simple way of getting your daily intake
Beetroot Juice - one simple way of getting your daily intake | Source

Blood Pressure and Risk of Disease

The high content of nitrates found in beetroot widen blood vessels, therefore lowering blood pressure (BP). They do this by producing a gas called Nitric Oxide in the blood, once eaten. Research has shown that beetroot may contain almost 20 times more nirate than other vegetables.

Several studies showed that a daily intake of beetroot juice provided a significant BP drop - and the higher the starting BP, the more significant the drop.

Lowering your BP to healthy levels (130/80 or less) as well as your cholesterol (discussed later) also reduces your risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Beetroot Juice

Your Thoughts on Beetroot Juice

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Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Beetroot contains many of your daily essential vitamins and minerals. Just 100g will give you a great start to your daily intake.

One of these is Folic Acid. Folic Acid is essential for normal tissue growth, but is especially important for the development of a baby's spinal cord in the first three months of pregnancy, preventing spina bifida. 100g of beetroot, whether it be juice or through eating beetroot, will give you 75% of your recommended daily intake of this essential mineral/vitamins.

Beetroot is also a great source of Iron and Vitamin C. With the addition of Vitamin C, Iron absorption is increased, therefore having both in the one vegetable makes for a great source of iron. With 7% of your recommended daily intake in 100g, it can give a well deserved pick-me-up to those pregnant women who are suffering with fatigue, at the same time as boosting their folic acid intake.

Other vitamins such as B6, Magnesium, Potassium, and soluble fibre.

Market examples of beetroot
Market examples of beetroot | Source

Superfood?

Beetroot's Many Postives

  • Decreases BP, and Cardiovascular Disease Risk
  • Folic Acid - great for pregnant women
  • Decreases the risk of osteoporosis
  • Slows the progression of dementia
  • And MANY MANY more!

Dementia, Osteoporosis?

Two completely different conditions, but the humble beetroot can help prevent or slow progress of both of these conditions.

Due to the mineral silica contained within it, beetroot helps the body to utilise calcium. This is an important component for bone growth, and bone health, also reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Dementia is a different kettle of fish. It is thought that the high concentration of nitrates within beetroot, and the subsequent conversion to nitric oxide, help with slowly the progression of dementia. It is thought to do this by the nitric oxide acting on the blood vessels in the brain, widening them and increasing blood flow to the brain - this is never a bad thing! (Unless it's a haemorrhage of course!). Folic acid in the beetroot is also thought to help protect against dementia and Alzheimers.

Nutritional Information

 
per 100g
GDA
Energy
162kj/38kcal
2%
Protein
1.7g
4%
Carbohydrate
7.6g
3%
of which Sugar
7.0g
8%
of which starch
0.6g
 
Fat
0.1g
0%
of which saturates
0.0g
0%
Fibre
1.9g
8%
Sodium
0.1g
 
Equivalent as salt
0.17g
3%
Vitamin C
 
8%
Folic Acid (Folate)
 
75%
Potassium (k+)
 
11%
Iron (Fe)
 
7%
Zinc (Zn)
 
3%
Magnesium
 
4%
Thanks to Lovebeetroot.co.uk for the Nutritional Information Table

Many Other Benefits

Beetroot has so many good qualities - too many to go into depth on in just the one hub.

Aside from the decreasing of BP, Cardiovascular disease risk, risk of osteoporosis, and preventing spina bifida in the developing baby, Beetroot has many other positive effects on your health.

Beetroot also has powerful antioxidant properties, lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, detoxifies the liver, gives protection against Cancer, boosts digestive health, and improves stamina.

Cancer protection comes in the form of betacyanin - this has been found to slow the growth of tumours by 12.5% in prostate and breast cancers. However the study that concluded this only studied betacynin on it's own, and it is assumed that other properties of the beetroot won't interfere with it's action.


Fresh, Cooked, Juiced!

Freshly dug beetroot
Freshly dug beetroot | Source

How to Add Beets Into Your Diet

There are many different ways you can increase your intake of beetroot, other than just popping a few slices in a burger.

Beetroot is able to be used in a juice - with other juiced vegetables and fruit, or on it's own. It is not recommended that you drink 100% beet juice - this can cause bloating and indigestion. It is suggested that you dilute it at least 1:2 with water or other juices. To treat anemia and fatigue, you should mix it 1:1 with honey. For women who are trying to normalize their periods - beetroot juice and pomegranate or carrot juice in a 1;3 ratio.

For gastric benefits - adding boiled beets to the diet may be helpful.

Beet is also available in a powdered form from natural health stores, and on Ebay.

Things to Do With Beets and Beet Powder

Who Shouldn't Use Beets? And any Side Effects?

However, don't go out and start guzzling beet juice. It is recommended that you start slowly, a teaspoon with other juices, and increase as taste allows.

Just like with any medication or health supplement - there are side effects:

  • Beetroot juice is a laxative and a diuretic - it may cause intestinal upset
  • 1-2 cups of undiluted juice drops BP - may cause weakness and dizzness
  • If you suffer from urolithiasis or hypertension (high BP) - limit consumption
  • Due to it's liver cleansing effects - if you have bile duct stones, beetroot juice may cause complications.
  • Your urine may turn pink - this happens to about 14% of the population - not harmful, just colourful!

Allergic side effects include:

  • fever
  • rash
  • chills
  • burning sensation or itching

If you suffer from any of these after drinking beetroot juice- please seek medical assistance immediately.

Otherwise - ENJOY Beetroot and it's Health Benefits!

© 2013 Jacqui

Comments

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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I love beets; even better cooked with onion.

    • jlpark profile image
      Author

      Jacqui 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Chitra and Peachpurple. Hope you are enjoying the benefits Chitra, and that yr dad gets the BP benefit of beet root peach!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      beetroot can reduce BP? That is a good news for my dad. I should print out this article and let him read. He needs lots of knowledge about reduce the BP. Thanks for writing such a useful hub. Voted up

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Excellent hub! I completely agree with you about the health benefits of Beetroot. I like to take it raw as juice or in salad form.

      Very useful hub and very nicely presented, especially the table of nutritional information. Voted up!

      Thanks for sharing!

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