Let me start with a quick fact.
It is believed that when a man and a woman eat the same beetroot, they are bound to fall in love with each other.
Okay. Before I lose myself in thoughts of my crush, let me come to the point.
That’s about beetroot. Not just the fact, but it, as a vegetable, is simply the coolest thing manufactured by Mother Earth.
And also (one of) the most nutritious. I am not going to tell you how. You have to read and find out for yourself.
Why beets are hard to beat.
Beets, The Unbeetables!
Touted as one of the healthiest veggies. The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant. It is one of the many varieties of the genus Beta vulgaris, all of which are mostly grown for their edible taproots and leaves. Apart from being used as food, beetroot is also used as a medicinal plant and as a food colorant.
Right from the Middle Ages, beetroot has been used not just as food, but also as a treatment for numerous conditions. Popularly known as beet, the vegetable is called Chukandar in Hindi, Remolachas in Spanish, and Hong cai tou in Chinese. And back in the Indian households, beets have been used for a long time as a treatment for anemia.
Beets come in a few different varieties. They are:
Chioggia, which is an Italian variety with distinct red and white striped flesh.
Formanova, which is a cylindrical beet that grows up to 8 inches long.
Golden, which is carrot-colored but still tastes like the beet. The greens of beet vegetable are especially delicious.
Detroit Dark Red, which is a popular variety that grows 2 ½ to 3 inches in diameter. This one can be grown in a wide variety of soils and temperature conditions.
Lutz Green Leaf, which is an unusual variety that grows up to four times the size of normal beets.
As we have seen, beets are usually red. This can largely be attributed to betalain, a pigment that beets contain. And there is another variety of beets – the white beets. These are cooked the same way as their red cousins, but without the issues with the color (which might stain your dress at times). And then, there are golden beets, where the root is pale orange. The flesh is of a similar color – and it is firm, healthy, and sweet. Golden beets are low in calories and extremely rich in fiber. They also are a great source of potassium and calcium.
Beets are also consumed in the form of crystals – the juice of beets is concentrated into soluble crystals, which can be mixed with another drink and taken. And then, we have sugarbeet, another root crop that flourishes in temperate climates with the growing season usually five months long.
But why are we talking so much about beets? Are they really that good for you?
I mean, like, really?
And, by the way, beets are also called blood turnips. They are low in sodium and fat – which already shows us why they are good. They are a good source of folate, and hence support mental and emotional health.
Beets are chock-full of other nutrients like iron, manganese, copper, potassium, and magnesium – all of which have their individual benefits. Even raw beets have terrific benefits – one of them being the ability to prevent cancer.
Not just the vegetable, but even the leaves have something to offer. Beet greens, as we call them, are packed with fiber and protein. They also contain vitamin K (blood clotting properties) and calcium (for strong bones and teeth) (1).
Beet juice can be healthy as well. Just 200 ml of the juice a day is all one needs to reap its benefits. And talking about the juice, there is one common doubt lingering in several minds – to juice or not to juice?
Even though beet juice is a more concentrated source of betalains, cooked beets contain more fiber. So, what’s the point of juicing the vegetable, you might ask. Well, here’s the point – beet juice contains all those nutrients that might otherwise be lost in the process of cooking. The juice is also easier to digest.
All of this, let me tell you, is because of what beets contain. Obviously. Which is what we will see now.
[ Read: Benefits Of Beetroot Juice ]
Check out here the beets nutritional information in detail.
|Principle||Nutrient value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.17 g||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.80 g||7%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.155 mg||3%|
|Vitamin A||33 IU||1%|
|Vitamin C||4.9 mg||8%|
|Vitamin E||0.04 mg||0.5%|
|Vitamin K||0.2 µg||0%|
So, that was all about nutritional value of beets . And now, for the detailed health benefits…
Check out here some of the most talked about beetroot benefits for health.
I am not sure if the sun rises every twenty-four hours, but our blood pressure surely does.
At least, for most of us. Especially with a job that demands the best of us. So, what do you do? Simple. Eat beets.
Want to know the connection between beets and blood pressure? In a study conducted at the Queen Mary University of London, beetroot juice was found to lower blood pressure in a matter of four weeks. As per experts, this is because of the presence of nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide. And in the process, the blood vessels expand (2).
Also, consuming beetroot juice regularly can prolong these good effects (3). So, if you are thinking of what to snack on as you watch your favorite TV series in the evenings, you now know. Consuming as much as 250 ml of beet juice a day can have effects better than most antihypertensive drugs (4). But hey, talk to your doc before you do this.
Another study conducted by the Newcastle University of London revealed similar findings – inorganic nitrate and beet juice supplementation helped lower blood pressure (5). This might benefit individuals at a risk of cardiovascular disease.
[ Read: Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure ]
As per a study, just one week of regular beetroot juice dosing can improve endurance and blood pressure in older individuals at a risk of heart failure (7).
Another American study has stated that the ingestion of beet juice prevents myocardial infarction (obstruction of blood supply to a tissue in the heart) (8).
According to a report published by the Kansas State University, beetroot improves the delivery of oxygen to the working skeletal muscles (9). When the working skeletal muscles don’t get enough oxygen, they are impaired and decrease one’s capacity to move their arms or legs. This results in decreased physical activity, ultimately leading to heart disease.
In another study conducted at the Howard University of Washington, beetroot ingestion was found to prevent lung and skin cancers (11).
Beetroot juice, when taken along with carrot extract, was found to aid in the treatment of leukemia. Numerous studies have supported the anticancer and chemopreventive properties of beets (12).
In another French study, betanin was found to significantly decrease cancer cell proliferation (13).
The presence of calcium, betaine, B vitamins, iron, and antioxidants keeps beets amongst the best liver foods. Beets also thin the bile, allowing it to easily flow through the liver and small intestine – this further enhances liver health.
Betaine in beets also helps the liver eliminate toxins. The fiber in beets clears the toxins that have been removed from the liver – making sure they don’t reenter the body.
The liver also contains zinc and copper, both of which can protect the liver cells from oxidative stress (14).
And as per a Polish study, beetroot can also protect the liver from oxidative damage (15).
Studies have found that beetroot makes the muscles more fuel-efficient, thereby enhancing stamina. One such study involved men aged from 19 to 38, who cycled on exercise bikes. Intaking about half a liter of beet juice a day enabled them to cycle 16 percent longer without getting exhausted (16).
And once again, the nitrates deserve the credit. Scientists believe that the nitrates in beetroot also help improve blood flow, cell signaling, and hormones – all of which play a role in increasing the energy levels.
Beetroot was also found to reduce the muscle usage of adenosine triphosphate, which is the body’s chief energy source. This conserves energy and helps one stay active for longer.
As per another study, eating beetroot gave runners a modest edge over others who didn’t – which amounted to an average of 41 seconds in a 5k run. The reason being beetroot’s ability to enhance the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. It also reduces the amount of oxygen the muscles need to perform optimally.
Another study showed how beetroot enhanced the performances of international-level female kayak athletes (17). The athletes had received two 70 ml beetroot shots two hours before the trials – and they had noticed a change.
Beetroot has also been found to reduce the oxygen cost of exercise. In tests conducted on exercising rats, beet juice supplementation was found to enhance blood flow to the limbs. The vegetable can also improve exercise performance in individuals suffering from peripheral artery disease.
[ Read: Foods To Increase Energy Levels ]
Their generous helpings of folate, fiber, and betalains place beets amongst the best anti-inflammatory foods on the planet.
As per an Iranian study, beetroot, especially in the juice form, was effective in treating inflammation (18). Another Egyptian study found that beetroot extract could treat inflammation in the kidneys (19).
Beets are known to improve brain neuroplasticity by improving the oxygenation of the somatomotor cortex – the brain area that is usually affected in the early stages of dementia (20).
In another study, when older hypertensive adults were given a beet juice supplement (in addition to exercise), their brain connectivity began to closely resemble that of younger adults.
The nitrates in beets, as we have seen, are converted into nitric oxide within our body. This nitric oxide allows the brain cells to communicate with each other, thereby enhancing brain health. Nitrates also improve blood flow to the brain (21).
According to another UK study, dietary nitrate can improve cerebral blood flow, thereby enhancing brain functioning (24).
This has more to do with sugar beets. According to an Iceland study, the fiber from sugar beets can reduce hyperglycemia (25).
And as per another UK study, consumption of beetroot juice was found to suppress postprandial (during or after lunch or dinner) glycemia (26).
[ Read: Best Fruits For Diabetics ]
What are the benefits of eating beets regularly? Well, regular consumption of beet or beet products has been found to improve digestion and blood quality (27). And according to another report, the juice of white beets can open the obstructions of the liver and spleen (28). Red beets can also be useful in treating illnesses related to the digestive system and blood.
In fact, red beets have a prominent place in history when it comes to abdominal health. Romans had used beets to treat constipation and other related ailments (29).
In an animal study, rats fed with beet extracts saw a decrease in the total cholesterol levels and an increase in good cholesterol (32). Though more research is required in this aspect, the study authors believe that the soluble fiber in beets can have these beneficial properties.
A study focused on the possibility of beets, especially because of their nitrate supplementation, being beneficial for pregnant women. However, more research is required (34).
Beets are also rich in folic acid, which is one very good reason for pregnant mothers to include them in their diet. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects in the baby (35).
[ Read: Beetroot During Pregnancy ]
We know the deficiency of iron causes anemia. It has been found that beets are rich in iron, and the absorption of iron is better from beetroot than a few other vegetables (36).
Believe it or .. well .. you need to believe it – beetroot has been used as an aphrodisiac since the Roman times. Beets contain good amounts of boron, a mineral directly related to the production of sex hormones (39). Beets are also relaxing. Betaine in beets relaxes your mind, and tryptophan contributes to happiness – both of which can help you get in the mood.
According to a Saudi Arabian study, beetroot juice can also help treat sexual weakness (40).
One characteristic that makes beetroot the ideal weight loss food is its natural sweetness. Which is why you can substitute your artificial sweetener with it. Because a diet high in added sugar can result in weight gain.
Beetroot is rich in fiber, which makes it one of the best weight loss foods. Talking about beet juice, some experts say that it is better as your body can absorb nutrients better from the juice (juicing in general, I mean) (44).
[ Read: Juices For Weight Loss ]
This can be attributed to the presence of polyphenols and betalains – compounds in beetroot that offer it its antioxidant properties. As per one study, the betalain pigment in beets has potent anti-inflammatory properties (45). These properties help treat oxidative stress and improve cognition.
Beet greens contain vitamin A and carotenoids that can benefit you from inside out. They also contain a decent of lutein, another potent antioxidant. These fight free radicals and can help fight wrinkles (47).
According to a Chinese study, sugar beet molasses has excellent antioxidant properties. The phenolic contents of sugar beet molasses demonstrate anti-aging properties (48).
What are beetroot benefits for skin? Beetroot ingestion has been found to prevent skin cancer (49). Also, beets, as we discussed, contain vitamin A that maintains healthy mucus membranes and improves skin health (50).
We have already seen that the nitrates in beets get converted into nitric oxide in the body. One Japanese study states that nitric oxide can help prevent certain lifestyle-related diseases, with osteoporosis being one of them (51).
Another reason beetroot is good for treating osteoporosis is the presence of silica. The mineral is required by the body to efficiently utilize calcium. Having a glass of beetroot juice every day can keep osteoporosis and other related ailments (like the brittle bone disease) away (52).
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, betaine supplements help lower the levels of homocysteine in the body. Excessive build-up of homocysteine can elevate the risk of osteoporosis, especially in younger adults (53).
That’s the list of benefits of beetroot for health. How can you enjoy the benefits? By taking the right kind of beets.
Which is why one must know how to select beets properly. And also, how to store them.
[ Read: Home Remedies To Cure Osteoporosis ]
Yes, you sure can get a packet of fresh beets from the market. The question is – how? How do you separate the best from the rest?
Good stuff, isn’t it? But, you can’t keep eating beets the whole day, right? Or can you?
The dosage is as important as anything else. Which is why one must know…
Though there is no specified dosage, beetroot is generally dosed based on the nitrate content. The ideal nitrate content is 6.4 to 12.8 mg of nitrates for every 1 kg of beetroot.
But, otherwise, there is no specific way of telling the number of beets that could be harmful. To keep it simple – one serving (1 cup, which equals to 136 grams) of beets per day must do.
If you want to know the dosage of beetroot juice powder, the packaging can help. Even otherwise, you wouldn’t need a higher dose – at least not as much as one serving of beets.
As for beet juice – we already discussed. It’s about 200 to 250 ml per day.
This is pretty simple.
Find out few ways on how to eat beets.
There are a few other delectable beet juices you can try –
Not just with respect to benefits, but also in terms of ‘being cool’, beets are way ahead. Like the super cool beet facts you will read now …
Not much to discuss about beet uses here, other than what we already saw.
Except that you can use beets to dye your hair. So, if you are a hairstyle/hair color aficionado, this could be for you.
Till now, we have seen how to include beets in your diet. But how about including them in your beauty routine as well?
Or best – as a powder blush. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? You can have your very own organic blush, minus the chemicals. And also, a simple hair dye – by mixing beet powder with henna and applying to your tresses as you normally do.
But how do you get beetroot powder? One way is to simply purchase it. Which you can do from here. The other way is to prepare it yourself at home. Which also is simple. And healthier.
All you need to do is wash the beetroot thoroughly first. Boil, bake or steam it. Cut the tops of the beet and discard them. Shred the beet. Next, dehydrate the beetroot (a temperature of 60o C is fine). You can use a dehydrator or an oven for this purpose (it must take 8-10 hours). Dehydrating in the sun is a bad idea as the process might take days.
Once done, grind the dehydrated beet in a food processor. Your beet powder is ready!
Betalains and other nutrients are usually lost in the cooking process. That way, juicing is better. But cooked beets usually contain more fiber than beet juice – as much of the fiber is filtered in the juicing process. The best way to go about it is having beet juice with the pulp.
Regarding comfort, beet supplement is better. Probably. Because all you need to do is pop a pill, and you are done (or add the powder to your food, if it’s a powdered supplement). Also, a beet supplement is far lower in calories as compared to beet juice. But then, the beet supplement might also be lower in carbs and fat (which could be good news) and protein (now, that’s bad).
In terms of nutrients or nitrates, both are similar. And in terms of sugar, the juice is on the higher end. But otherwise, there is no drastic difference between the two. Simply put – if you are more on the move and literally can’t make time to prepare juice out of beets, go with the supplement. Or else, the juice is good.
So far so good.
So, this was about health benefits of beets. Beets might be purple, but we must never forget that they also harbor a dark side…
Beets and beet greens are high in oxalate, and as per research, such foods can reduce the absorption of calcium (54). Consuming high amounts of oxalate can also cause kidney stones.
No sufficient information in this regard – especially with respect to using beets in large medicinal amounts (55). Stay safe and just stick to food amounts.
Though the research is limited, it is said that beet juice must never be had by itself. It always is recommended to have beet juice mixed with other vegetables or apple juice. Pure beet juice (direct from the bulb or greens) might paralyze the vocal chords, make one break out in hives, increase heart rate, or even cause chills and fever. It can also cause liver toxicity, diarrhea, and vomiting.
There is no sufficient research to substantiate this. But it’s better to be safe, isn’t it? Also, do consult your doctor.
Vitamin K can interact with warfarin, an anticoagulant medication. Though the amount of vitamin K in beets is not so high to interfere with warfarin, it is not the case with beet greens as they are high in vitamin K.
Well, you still have questions, don’t you? Worry not – we have them covered!
[ Read: Side Effects Of Beetroot ]
Is it okay to eat beetroot daily?
You can safely eat beets a few times a week. If you are eating daily, it’s fine, but do so in limited quantities. You can have beet greens in larger quantities as well (but keep in mind the oxalate content).
Can you eat beets raw?
Very much. You can eat beets without cooking them. Wash them properly, though.
How do I eat beets?
You can eat them raw (as we already discussed). Or have them roasted with goat cheese. You can also include them in a salad. Or best – refer to the recipes in this post.
Are pickled beets good?
They are more than good. In fact, Olympians use pickled beets for faster recovery. Pickled beets contain sodium that helps prevent muscle cramps. They are also rich in magnesium and potassium. They are good for the heart, give you energy, and prevent fatigue and loss of appetite.
But since they are high in sodium, exercise caution – especially if you have hypertension issues.
How many calories in beetroot?
100 grams of beets contain 43 calories.
Can you eat beet skin?
Yes. Baby beets are especially easy to eat as their skin is tender. And the skin is replete with fiber.
And, what about beet stems?
Yes. They are full of nutrients. But since they are extremely fibrous, you probably need to soften them a bit by cooking. Sometimes, beet stems can be too woody to eat, which is when they can go along with the stock veggies.
Are canned beets healthy?
Very much. Not just in terms of convenience, cost, or shelf life, but also in terms of nutrient content. Unlike other vegetables, canned beets have a flavor that rivals fresh beets.
They also have the same nutritional value. Pretty much.
The only consideration is canned beets contain more salt than fresh ones. Hence, if you rinse canned beets before eating them, you can reduce the amount of sodium by as much as 40%. Also, the process of canning destroys the bacteria – which is why food preservatives are not added to canned beets.
Are beets good for babies?
Yes. And the best time to introduce beets to your baby is when (s)he is 8 to 10 months old. And if you are concerned about nitrates, you can either boil or steam the beets.
Limit to 1 to 2 teaspoons of beets till your baby is one year old. Post that, you can increase the amount gradually.
More importantly, do the 4-day test. You must do this test before introducing any new food to your baby. And you must introduce only one food at a time. Introduce beets and wait for 4 days. If there is no symptom of any allergy, you can give them to your baby regularly.
Beets benefit your baby in numerous ways – they reduce the risk of anemia, improve digestion, and offer various other essential nutrients.
Can beet greens be eaten raw?
Yes – but it is better to include them in salads.
Beets are unbeatable. That sums up everything.
And wait, we know this post on benefits of beetroot has blown your mind in a few ways. Let us know how. Do you see the box right below? Leave your comments there. We really (yes, we really do) love hearing from you!
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