The beetroot (Beta vulgaris), table beet, garden beet, red or golden beet, or only beet is the taproot portion of the beet plant. The dark purple roots are usually grilled, boiled, or roasted as a cooked vegetable. The green, leafy portion of the beet is also edible and is most commonly served boiled or steamed, consisting of taste and texture like spinach. The beetroot is often added as an ingredient to salads, soups, and is also used as a natural coloring agent.
Here are 7 health benefits of the beetroot.
1. The beetroot could give an energy boost.
The beetroot consists of many carbohydrates that will help athletes maintain enough fuel for prolonged sports activities. This happens without the adverse carbohydrate-heavy side effects because the beetroot is low in the glycemic index. Foods high on the glycemic index will break down rapidly and cause blood sugar, and insulin level jumps after meals, which is followed by rapidly crashing blood sugar levels. The beetroot will slowly absorb into the bloodstream, creating a more stable blood sugar level.
2. The beetroot can enhance cardiovascular performance.
Research has shown that individuals who drink beet juice have a 16 percent increase in the uptake of oxygen due to the high nitrate content. This increases stamina for endurance runners.
3. The beetroot could be an aphrodisiac.
For more than a thousand years, beets have been thought of as a sexual booster. That thought may be correct. The beetroot contains a significant amount of boron, which has been known to increase the production of sexual hormones. Higher levels of sexual hormones can improve one’s sex life by boosting the libido, increasing fertility, improving sperm mobility, and reducing negative moods in the bedroom.
4. The beetroot can help improve your liver's function.
Pilot studies on humans have shown that the compound betaine, found in beets, may protect against liver disease, particularly the accumulation of liver fat deposits caused by alcohol abuse, protein deficiency, or diabetes.
5. The beetroot is helpful for pregnant women and their babies.
The beetroot is a good source of B-vitamin complex like folate also known as folic acid. Folate has shown to help in neural tube formation and red blood cell formation in prenatal babies. A deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women can lead to the birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects in newborns. A one-half cup of the beetroot contains 20 percent of the daily recommended value of folate.
6. The beetroot could help fight certain cancers with treatment.
Studies have suggested that the pigment betacyanins, found in beets, counteract cancer growth. This can prevent skin, lung, and colon cancer. Also, research has shown that beet juice inhibits cell mutations caused by compounds created from nitrates.
7. The beetroot is excellent for maintaining a balanced blood health.
The beetroot is high in potassium and low in sodium, which lowers blood pressure and may treat hypertension. Also, the fiber content in beets is helpful in lowering cholesterol and improves the performance of insulin in the body, which aids in the lowering of blood pressure.
- Beets, cooked, boiled, drained Nutrition Facts & Calories. (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2017, from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2349/2
- Wang, M., & Goldman, I. L. (1997). Transgressive segregation and reciprocal effect for free folic acid content in a red beet (Beta vulgaris L.) population. Euphytica, 96(3), 317-321.
- Kapadia, G. J., Tokuda, H., Konoshima, T., & Nishino, H. (1996). Chemoprevention of lung and skin cancer by Beta vulgaris (beet) root extract. Cancer letters, 100(1-2), 211-214.
- Agarwal, M., Srivastava, V. K., Saxena, K. K., & Kumar, A. (2006). Hepatoprotective activity of Beta vulgaris against CCl 4-induced hepatic injury in rats. Fitoterapia, 77(2), 91-93.
- Fondy, B. R., Geiger, D. R., & Servaites, J. C. (1989). Photosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, and export in Beta vulgaris L. and Phaseolus vulgaris L. during square and sinusoidal light regimes. Plant Physiology, 89(2), 396-402.
- Bailey, S. J., Winyard, P., Vanhatalo, A., Blackwell, J. R., DiMenna, F. J., Wilkerson, D. P., ... & Jones, A. M. (2009). Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O 2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans. Journal of applied physiology, 107(4), 1144-1155.
Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 5, 2014
Last updated: June 10, 2016
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