The term "beet" is most commonly used in North America to describe the taproot of Beta vulgaris, which is widely referred to in the United Kingdom as the "beetroot."
Beetroot is an extremely old vegetable that has been grown for thousands of years – dating back to around 3000 B.C., with evidence of use as a food and medicine at the Saqqara pyramid in Thebes, Egypt. In Victorian times, different places used beetroot as a vegetable dye. It has also become widely used in Central and Eastern European cuisines.
The vegetable is eaten fresh and cooked but is best known to be pickled. After World War II, the pickled form of beetroot became widely accepted as part of the western diet.
Beetroot is now grown and consumed all over the world for its palatability and high nutritive and medicinal value, earning the distinction as a health-promoting and disease-preventing superfood. Beetroot is also thought to extend life.
Beetroot, also known as red beet, table beet, garden beet or just beet, mainly consists of water, fiber (important as part of a healthy diet and linked to a reduced risk of various diseases) and carbohydrates (simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose).
A study in the Journal of Nutritional Medicine and Diet Care reported that beetroot is packed with high amounts of biologically active substances. Beetroots are rich in vitamins C, A, E and K. They have an important content of B-vitamins (B1-thiamine, B2-riboflavin, B3-niacin, B5-pantothenic acid, B6-pyridoxine, B9-folates and B12-cyancobalamin). They also contain folic acid and powerful natural antioxidants, flavonoids, betalains and phenolic compounds.
Other bioactive compounds are saponins, alkaloids, amino acids or amines and tannins. Beetroots are a good source of essential minerals like manganese, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, boron, silica and selenium.
The variety of nutrients found in beetroot has justified their growing importance among academia and scientific communities for bioactive and functionalizing components, natural colorants development and many other applications, such as food and pharmaceuticals.
Although beetroot is consumed in various ways, and in considerable quantities, not all consumers know its true benefits and the advantages of its consumption. Beetroot is considered one of the world's healthiest vegetables because it can do the following:
According to a study published in the International Journal of Chemical Studies, beetroot ingestion can be considered a factor in cancer prevention because of the vegetable’s active compounds, such as carotenoids, saponins, betacyanins, betanin, polyphenols and flavonoids.
Beetroot is high in immune-boosting vitamin C, antioxidants, zinc, iron and other important nutrients that promote a healthy immune system and ensure a strong defense against bacteria, viruses and infections.
A study published in Nutrients says beetroot ingestion provides a natural means of increasing nitric oxide, which has a natural effect of relaxing and dilating blood vessels. Meaning, more oxygenated blood can travel throughout the body with ease. (Related: Beet juice can help heart patients keep exercising.)
Beetroot is rich in a plant alkaloid called betaine, as well as B-vitamin folate. Working together, these nutrients lower homocysteine in the blood, an amino acid that could increase risk for artery damage and heart disease.
Beetroot is a good source of folate (B9), which is important for good brain health. Folate works with vitamin B12 to help iron function in your body and produce red blood cells. The nitric oxide produced from beetroot helps increase blood flow throughout your body. This improves blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain.
A study published in the Journal of Natural Products has provided evidence that a group of peptides called knottins, such as those found in beetroot, may improve clinical outcomes for several pathologies like neurodegenerative disorders. Due to B vitamins and nitric oxide, beetroot helps reduce the effect of dementia and the loss of memory by increasing the blood flow to the brain. (Related: Drink beet juice before exercise for a younger brain)
Vitamin K in beetroot helps make various proteins that the body needs for the building of bones, such as osteocalcin, a protein to produce healthy bone tissues; and prothrombin, a protein and clotting factor that is important in bone building, bone metabolism and other important processes.
Beetroot is high in vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber and they also contain essential minerals, like magnesium and potassium. Potassium is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function, reducing the muscle usage of adenosine triphosphate, which is the body’s energy source.
A study published in Nutrients demonstrated that consuming beetroot juice can be used as a post-exercise recovery strategy to reduce losses in some aspects of dynamic muscle function among athletes in team sports.
Another important quality of beetroot consumption is the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of permanent vision loss among Americans ages 60 and older). Carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, which are natural antioxidants in beetroot, play an important role in eye health and vision. They are known to reduce the risk of cataract formation.
A study in Acta Scientiarum Polonorum Technologia Alimentaria reported the protective effect of the high dietary fiber in beetroot against certain gastrointestinal diseases, constipation, hemorrhoids, colon cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcer and diverticulitis, among others.
Beetroot juice has traditionally been used as a remedy to activate liver enzymes and increase bile, which helps the liver's detox function. It is high in betalains and other compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation, protect against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of liver damage. The methionine and glycine betaine help keep fatty acids from building up in the liver. The betaine in beetroot energizes the functions of the liver cells and helps protect the liver bile ducts.
According to a study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, the antioxidant activity and phenolic content of betalains in beetroot, especially betacyanins, have pharmacologic activities as an antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antilipidemic and antimicrobial agent.
Betaine, an amino acid in beetroot, prevents and reduces the accumulation of fat in the liver. While a fatty liver has no outward symptoms, it is associated with overall inflammation and that's never a good thing.
Special renal vitamins are usually prescribed to people with chronic kidney disease who often can't get the recommended amount of vitamins they need to function properly. Renal vitamins contain B-vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12), folic acid, and a small dose of vitamin C, which can all be sourced in beetroot. Only use the beetroot form (raw, juice, capsule, etc.) approved by your kidney doctor.
Beetroot is a natural remedy to make your skin butter-smooth and silky and without any greasy feel. Being rich in iron and carotenoids, beetroot seeps moisture into the pores and innermost layers of your skin.
Packed with anti-oxidants, beetroot is very helpful in warding off the early signs of aging and fine lines. Lycopene and squalene present in beetroot increase the skin's elasticity, giving you younger-looking skin.
Beetroot contains vitamin C that prevents skin pigmentation, providing a fairer complexion. This superfood is also a rich source of iron, phosphorus and protein, which give you healthy and pinkish skin. Drinking beetroot juice is one option as it clears the blood and body of toxins.
High in potassium, electrolytes and iron, beetroot helps repair the limp and lifeless hair and reduces the chances of breakage. Beetroot can naturally deal with fungal infection and dry scalp, the main causes of dandruff. The enzymatic properties of beetroot reduce flaking and eliminate dandruff-causing bacteria. Also, silica present in beetroot moisturizes the scalp and keeps fungi away, leaving your hair soft and shiny.
Beetroot is a fantastic source of the chemical betaine anhydrous and the amino acid, tryptophan – both of which are shown to improve your mood. It also contains betalain, which is used in anti-depressants.
Learn more about beetroot at Veggie.news.
Watch the video below for a closer look at reasons to have a glass of beet juice every day.
This video is from the Natural Remedies channel on Brighteon.com.