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Beetroot to a healthier you: The benefits of consuming beetroot

Beetroot seems like it has been around forever, but until recently, it has been one of those vegetables rarely seen on menus.  Nevertheless, its nutritional value is now making beetroot and beetroot juice popular superfoods.  This bulbous, sweet root vegetable has health-boosting properties that may promote longevity, aid in weight loss, and prevent cancer and other chronic diseases.

Also known as beets or blood turnips, beetroot is sometimes underappreciated because it is an acquired taste.  It is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and fiber, which provide health benefits if consumed regularly.

The Health Benefits of Beetroot

The following are health benefits that people can enjoy by adding beetroot to their diets:

1. Beetroot boosts weight loss

Beetroot is low in calories and is fat-free. Consuming beetroot juice in the morning may provide nutrients and energy boosts that can help people throughout the day.

The dietary fiber in beetroot is half insoluble and half soluble. Fiber removes toxins from the body, prevents fat deposits by lowering cholesterol levels, and maintains proper bowel function in the body.

This vegetable also contains magnesium, a mineral that supports optimal muscle and nerve functioning and also aids in losing weight. A study revealed that magnesium helps increase testosterone levels, which promotes fat loss and increases muscle mass. The increase in muscle mass may burn more calories and lead to weight loss.

Beetroot also contain pigments known as betalains. Betalins supply the body with antioxidants and reduce inflammation. These pigments also aid in detoxification and can contribute to weight loss.

2. Beetroot builds strength

Drinking beet juice increases endurance, which is necessary during workouts. Research found that drinking beet juice before workouts allowed people to exercise longer before they became exhausted.

The nitrate content in beets converts to nitric oxide. This reduces the cost of oxygen in low-intensity exercises while it enhances the stamina necessary for high-intensity exercises.  It increases plasma nitrate levels, which may lead to prolonged exercise endurance.

3. Beetroot promotes digestion

Eating beetroot stimulates the nerves in the intestines and enhances the ability of the body to digest food. Beetroot is a good source of fiber. A cup of the vegetable contains 3.4 grams of fiber. The fiber assists the digestive tract and enters the colon, promoting beneficial gut bacteria and adding bulk to stool.

4. Beetroot improves sexual health

Because of its nitrate content, beets can be considered nature’s Viagra. Consuming the vegetable increases nitric oxide formation, dilates the blood vessels, and boosts blood circulation to the penis. In turn, men experience longer-lasting erections during sexual intercourse.

5. Beetroot lowers blood pressure, especially in men

Consuming beetroot may lower the diastolic and systolic blood pressure.  A study revealed that the effect is even stronger in men. One study researched men and women who drank a combination of beetroot juice and apple juice compared to those who consumed a placebo juice.

Six hours after drinking the beetroot and apple juice, both men and women experienced drops in systolic blood pressure. When the analysis focused on men, the blood pressure of the men who drank the beet juice dropped significantly.

The positive effect was attributed to the high nitrate content of beetroot. The nitric oxide in beetroot relaxes the blood vessels, increasing oxygen and blood flow, which lowered the blood pressure.

6. Beetroot increases muscle power in the heart

People who experienced heart failure who drank beetroot juice experienced an increase in muscle power two hours after drinking the substance. Researchers believe that this occurred because the nitrate in beetroot juice improved the individuals’ muscle function.

7. Beetroot may treat cancer

Betalains responsible for the beetroot’s rich color may also have cancer-fighting properties.  Betalins are water-soluble antioxidants with chemopreventive abilities. Chemopreventive substances are chemicals or vitamins used to prevent cancer.

The nutrients in beetroot may inhibit carcinogen formation and increase the production of enzymes and immune cells in animals. A study found that adding beetroot to water and giving this substance to animals helped reduce the formation of multiorgan tumors.

Studies on the effect of beets on human cancer are still limited. The Australian International Clinical Nutrition Review discussed the case of a fifty-year-old man suffering from a lung tumor who recovered while consuming beetroot. After six weeks of consuming beetroot, his tumor disappeared.  After four months, he gained twenty pounds.

Betalains may be scavengers of free radicals. They may find and destroy unstable cells in the body.

8. Beetroot contributes to brain health

Since it slows the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, beetroot can be considered brain food. Elderly people who consume beetroot juice increase the flow of blood to their brains, which suppresses the development of dementia. Nitrate-rich diets increase blood flow to the white matter in the brain’s frontal lobes, the area of the brain damaged by dementia and other conditions.

Beetroot also contains folic acid, a substance that helps protect against Alzheimer’s disease. It prevents damage to the hippocampus, the part of the brain that manages memory and learning.  Folic acid also produces more brain cells.

9. Beetroot is a good source of potassium

Beetroot is rich in potassium. Potassium helps the nerves and muscles function properly.  This mineral electrolyte is necessary for maintaining heart rhythms. Very low potassium levels can be life-threatening and can cause muscle cramps, weakness, and fatigue.

The health benefits of beetroot are noteworthy. Consuming it regularly should be part of a healthy diet. People should not use it to replace any medications without proper medical consultation, however.  Like other foods, beetroot should be a complement to the diet to ensure a healthier lifestyle. So, eat healthy, regularly.

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Charles Watson
Charles Watson currently is the head content writer for the Sunshine Behavior Health centers. A lifelong Detroit resident, when not writing you can find him at the local Detroit Pistons games. He can be reached directly on Twitter at @charleswatson00.

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