Amazing Health Benefits of Beetroot You May Not Know
Beetroot is the tap-root part of the beet plant. It has other variant names such as table root, garden beet, red beet etc. Beetroot is found world wide-from North America, India, Asia, Africa to Poland and Eastern Europe. Beetroot is increasingly becoming a popular vegetable in Nigeria-more people add it to salads or make juice from it.
Many times I go to buy vegetables, I see people ask the grocery seller to remove beetroot from their bag because they do not want it. When I went to buy vegetables last weekend, I saw the same thing; a woman rejected beetroot. I encouraged her to try a beetroot recipe, say, beetroot juice (which I think is really quick and easy to make). She turned and looked at me, in amazement and asked why she should do so. I told her some of the health benefits of beetroot. She asked for my mobile phone number and promised to call to tell me her experience with the beetroot juice.
To my surprise, she called me. It seems I got her interested in the beetroot juice. I think we have now become “beetroot friends”!
Scientific Facts about Beetroot
Several studies have identified beetroot as effective in lowering high blood pressure. A systematic review of randomized clinical trials on inorganic nitrates and beetroot supplementation (published in 2013), showed significant reduction of blood pressure among study participants, although further long-term study was needed in people more at risk of cardiovascular diseases (1).
A more recent systematic review published in 2016 examined effects of inorganic nitrates and beetroot supplementation on endothelial function. (endothelial function is necessary for lowering blood pressure) . The results show a positive effect of beetroot in older age group and in patients with greater cardiovascular risks (2).
Another systematic review provides evidence that beetroot juice supplementation to lower blood pressure is more effective at night than daytime and among younger age group (less than 65 years) (3). But in yet another study, beetroot supplementation to lower blood pressure was also effective among younger age group as well as in overweight subjects (4).
It is low in fat with calories of 43 kcal per 100g. It has carbohydrates, in the form of sugar (up to 8% of beetroot is sugar) and 2 % fibre. This gives it a slightly sweet taste. It also has vitamins and folate. It is also a good source of Manganese.
Beetroot is commonly made as beetroot juice. But it can be prepared in many other ways. It can be made into beetroot smoothie, cooked in dishes such as beetroot rice, used in salads, soups, condiments, pickles or etc. Beetroot is typically deep purple color and is suitable as a natural food colorant. But it can be golden-yellow or white color.
Beetroot is safe to eat. If taken in large quantities, urine or stool color may change to reddish-purple (which resembles blood in urine or stool) but this is not a concern as there is no harm associated with this.