What is Beetroot?
Beetroot, also often known as the beet, is a root vegetable that has been consumed since ancient times.
Even the ancient Romans and Greeks thought beetroot had vitamins and minerals.
In fact, today’s studies prove that not only are they loaded with beneficial nutrients.
But beetroot is an amazing way to ensure that a person stays healthy.
A root vegetable, the reddish and bulbous portion of the beetroot is grown underground while its leafy top is seen above the ground.
It grows in both tropical and temperate areas, and takes about two months to reach maturity.
Though the plants have been cultivated for thousands of years due to their dietary benefits.
It is only recently that their many health benefits of beetroot have been explored.
1. Enhances sex
The ancient Romans prized beetroot as an aphrodisiac and raised them as such. Today’s science supports this Roman practice.
Researchers have found that beets contain high amounts of boron, an element that relates directly to the production of sex hormones in humans.
This for many people is one of the top health benefits of beetroot.
2. Equalizes mental health
Betaine, the same component that is used by practitioners to treat depression using certain methods, is found in beetroot.
Another great element that beetroot contains is tryptophan.
Which has been shown to create a sense of well-being while also relaxing the mind.
They are also a great way to lower blood pressure, which can help offset the effects of stress on the body.
3. Boosts Strength
Beet juice can be valuable if you’re looking to boost endurance during your workout. Previous research has found those who drank beet juice before working out were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer.
Researchers believe the nitrate content in beets, which turns into nitric oxide, reduces the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise while enhancing the stamina for high-intensity exercise.
In other words, nitrate-rich food can increase exercise endurance.
4. Increases energy levels
Because the sugar contained in beetroot is released slowly throughout the body, even though the sugar levels are high, they help maintain steady energy levels.
When compared to foods such as chocolate whose sugars are processed quickly by the body, beetroot.
Which is also low in calories, makes its energy boost last a great deal longer.
5. Supports healthy liver function
Betanin helps to protect the liver by preventing the build up of fatty deposits, encouraging bile stimulation and acting as a powerful anti-oxidant.
It is said to help the liver get rid of toxins, supporting its natural function as an organ of detoxification, helping to eliminate harmful substances from the body.
6. Is high in vitamins and minerals
Because they are high in vitamin B and iron, beetroot is especially beneficial to those women who are pregnant.
Vitamin B and iron are necessary for the growth of new cells as well as replenishing the iron levels that often dip at this time of life.
In addition, it is high in the following vitamins and minerals:
7. Helps cleanse the body
Beetroot works to cleanse and clarify the liver. It can also purify the blood and has been shown to help prevent some forms of cancer.
Eating beetroot can also indicate whether a person has low amounts of stomach acid.
This is shown if their urine turns pink.
Adding beetroot to the diet is easy. Many people simply add beetroot that is mashed and cooked to their smoothies.
Another way to prepare it is by thinly slicing it before drizzling with olive oil and broiling it.
Another one of health benefits of beetroot…
8. Boosts Weight Loss
Beets help you detox and lose weight because they contain no fat and are a good source of dietary fiber — half soluble and half insoluble.
These two types help fight fat by maintaining proper bowel function and lowering cholesterol levels for weight loss.
Similarly, beets are rich in magnesium, a mineral that supports optimal nerve and muscle functioning, which could be beneficial for losing weight.
A 2011 study found high levels of magnesium led to higher levels of testosterone — a hormone that promotes fat tissue loss and increases in muscle.
Since muscle burns more calories than fat, maintaining or building muscle can help with shedding the pounds.
Moreover, beets contain phytonutrients known as betalains — betanin and vulgaxanthin — which are effective in reducing inflammation and supplying the body with antioxidants. Betalains also support detoxification, which may contribute to weight loss.
9. Prevent Anemia
Red beetroots have a significant amount of iron, which helps prevent anemia and boosts the regeneration of red blood cells.
Furthermore, vitamin C in beets aids in boosting iron absorption.
10. Reduce Macular Degeneration
The beta-carotene present in beetroot aids in reducing or slowing macular degeneration in the eyes.
Macular degeneration is often associated with an increase in free radicals, which drastically affect the premature aging process of many people.
Beta-carotene is a powerful form of vitamin A, which has antioxidant properties and defends the eyes against the damaging effects of free radicals, according to a study published in the journal Food Chemistry.
Potential Side Effects of Beet Juice
Nothing is perfect, unfortunately. There are some side effects to drinking beet juice that you should know about before jumping in.
Red Stools and Urine
Yep, you read that right. You might start seeing a red color when you go to the bathroom. This affects about 10-14% of people, so it’s not likely to happen to you but if it does, don’t worry too much about it.
You aren’t bleeding!
The red color when you go to the bathroom can actually be a sign of iron deficiency, so if that’s something you’re worried about, then visit your doctor.
However, for the majority of people, it’s just the red pigment in beet juice not getting broken down properly.
Potential For Kidney Stones
Beetroot is a source of oxalates, which can prevent calcium from being absorbed properly. If this happens, then you might experience calcium build-up, which is what causes kidney stones.
You can avoid kidney stones by making sure you drink plenty of water.
This way any calcium that isn’t absorbed by your body can be expelled in your urine.
Unless you’ve been warned about oxalate kidney stones by your doctor already, or you’ve experienced kidney stones before, you should be fine.
It Can Lower Blood Pressure Too Much
Like I explained, beet juice can reduce high blood pressure. However, if you have low blood pressure -which has its own problems – then drinking beet juice can cause it to become too low.
Low blood pressure can lead to dizziness and fainting, since your blood isn’t circulating round your body properly.
If you’re drinking beet juice daily, and you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, then you should probably stop.
Seek out some medical advice if you’re worried about low blood pressure, since a doctor will be able to help you.
When and How To Drink Beetroot
Juice, concentrate, or powder?
The first study on beets suggested that 500 mL of beet juice each day may lead to a 15% increase in the time taken to reach exhaustion.
Since then, athletes have tried numerous ways to make this process more convenient. Juicing 3 to 5 beets every morning is not only time consuming and messy, but also expensive and impractical if you are traveling.
Alternatives in the form of powder and concentrated juices are now widely available on the market.
The most recent study at the University of Exeter used concentrated beet juice, like Red Ace Organics, which replicated the effect of fresh juice.
Research has yet to recreate the performance health benefits of using beetroot powder.
While the first study used 500 mL, or about 2 cups, that is a lot of beet juice to drink.
Anecdotes of digestive distress after drinking that quantity suggest there is an advantage in finding the lowest dose that works for you.
New data shows improvements can be measured at 300 mL, or about one shot of concentrated beet juice. At 600 mL the performance gain is bigger, but doubling that dose provides no extra benefit.
This suggests that NO levels can become saturated.
Raw or cooked?
Previous research suggests that cooking will significantly reduce the available nitrates in vegetables. This is why juicing beets or using concentrate is the preferred method for ingesting beets.
The exception to this is light steaming, which may actually make the nutrients more available to the body. Obviously, beets take some serious cooking to be edible, steaming isn’t going to cut it.
For other high nitrate vegetables, like spinach, light steaming will not affect the nitrate availability.
Drink it fast or take it slow?
The nitrates in beets are converted into nitrites by friendly bacteria in our saliva. This is an important step that should not be overlooked.
This conversion is not instantaneous, and the use of mouthwash or toothpaste soon after drinking beet juice may wash the nitrates out of your saliva.
It follows that drinking beet juice slowly may increase the time nitrates are in contact with these bacteria, increasing the conversion to nitrites.
Will it work for me?
Like all supplements, individuals will respond differently to the performance enhancing benefits of beet juice. In the latest University of Exeter study, they report “nonresponders” in each group.
There was a chance that no performance benefit would be seen, even at the highest dose given.
The subjects being tested in scientific research are in a tightly controlled environment; in the real world it’s impossible to tell how other supplements, or even caffeine, may interact with NO levels.
Beetroots are a healthful addition to most diets. People can experience the health benefits of beetroots by eating them raw or cooked or by drinking beetroot juice.
Juiced beets contain many beneficial nutrients that the cooking process can remove.