Beetroot, commonly known as beets, are a popular root vegetable used in many cuisines around the world. Beets are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, some of which have medicinal properties.
Beetroots has always been included in my most recommended vegetables list, although they are in the “use sparingly” category because of their high carbohydrate levels.
Although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week, enjoying not only their sweet, earthy flavor, but also their powerhouse nutrients that may improve your health in the following ways.
1. Exercise and athletic performance
Beetroot juice supplementation has been shown to improve muscle oxygenation during exercise, suggesting that increased dietary nitrate intake has the potential to enhance exercise tolerance during long-term endurance exercise. Quality of life for those with cardiovascular, respiratory, or metabolic diseases, who find the activities of daily living physically difficult because of lack of oxygenation, could be improved.
2. Weight Loss
Beets taste sweet, but a cup of cooked beet contains only 60 calories and is full of fiber. This is a perfect food for weight management.
The sugars in beets are smart carbs, since they come in a natural whole food form. Unlike white sugar, the beet calories come with a lot of nutrients and phytochemicals.
3. Fight Cancerous Cells
Beets are rich in antioxidants. The pigment that gives beet its rich color, betanin, is a potent antioxidant. It also contains betaines, which have chemopreventive properties and the ability to fight against cancerous cells. They are water-soluble antioxidants that help the body find and destroy any unstable cells. While there is never any guarantee that any food can prevent cancer, beets have substances shown to have preventative properties.
4. Blood Pressure
People with high blood pressure can benefit greatly from regular consumption of beetroot due to its high nitrate content. The body converts nitrates to nitrites and a gas called nitric oxide. Both these components help to widen the arteries and lower blood pressure.
Along with lowering high blood pressure, beetroot also reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. So, consume beetroot daily to maintain heart health and manage blood pressure.
5. Improves sexual health and stamina
Also known as ‘natural Viagra’, beetroot has been commonly used in a number of ancient customs to boost one’s sexual health. Since the vegetable is a rich source of nitrates, it helps release nitric oxide into the body, widening the blood vessels, and increasing blood flow to the genitals – a mechanism that medicines like Viagra seek to replicate.
Another factor is that beetroot contains a lot of boron, a chemical compound that is important for the production of the human sex hormone.