Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) is touted as one of the healthiest vegetables that belong to the Chenopodiaceae family. The red-coloured vegetable is popularly known as beet, red beet, garden beet or table beet.
It is used as a medicinal plant for the treatment of numerous health conditions such as lowering blood pressure, reducing diabetes risk and improving memory.
Beetroot is red in colour because of a pigment called betalain, which is why it is mostly used as a food colourant. Beetroots contain a chock-full of nutrients and beneficial flavonoids called anthocyanins.
Beetroots are popular root vegetable used in many cuisines around the world. It is packed with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, some of which have medicinal properties.
What’s more, they are delicious and easy to add to your diet. Here are the eight health benefits of beetroots:
1. Lower blood pressure
Beetroots contain nitrates, which increases blood flow in the body. Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a molecule that expands the blood vessels and this, in turn, reduces blood pressure. A study showed that drinking beetroot juice can aid in lowering blood pressure levels.
2. Promotes heart health
Beetroots can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke due to the presence of nitrates. In addition, the fibre present in beetroots reduces cholesterol and triglyceride level by increasing the HDL (good) cholesterol in the body.
3. May aid in weight loss
Beetroots are low in calories and consist of water and fibre, which make them an ideal vegetable for losing weight. Fibre is known to accelerate weight loss by suppressing your appetite and making you feel full for a longer period of time, thus reducing your overall calorie intake.
4. Improves brain health
The presence of nitrates in beetroots may improve mental and cognitive function. The nitrates in beetroots dilate the blood vessels which increases blood flow to the brain, thus improving brain function and reducing the risk of dementia in older adults.
5. Fights inflammation
Beetroots contain betalains, which are known to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming this vegetable will help reduce pain and discomfort linked to inflammation.
6. Prevents anaemia
Beetroots possess significant amount of iron, an essential mineral that increases haemoglobin levels in the blood and prevents the development of anaemia. The vegetable also contains vitamin C, which is known to absorb iron better.
7. May have chemopreventive properties
According to a study, the bioactive compounds in beetroot inhibited the mutation of cancerous cells. The study was done on animals, further human studies are required to support the claim.
8. Improves athletic performance
The nitrate content in beetroots can improve physical performance by increasing the supply of oxygen to various parts of the body’s cells. Studies have shown that consumption of beetroots enhance running performance in healthy adults.