Beetroot, or beets, seem to be one of the most overlooked vegetables on the figurative menu. This may be because the majority of people are only exposed to the acidic pickled variety you get in cans. Or maybe it’s just because it seems to infiltrate and stain any other food it comes into contact with. If you’re an Australian like me, you’ve probably had at least one burger that has ended up bright purple because of a pesky beetroot inclusion.
It’s time for you to put the canned stuff down and try roasting off a fresh beet in the oven. Or perhaps you could try sipping on a glass of beetroot juice. Trust me, it’s delicious. Either way, you need to start putting your beetroot prejudices aside because they are actually incredibly healthy for you. Here are 10 benefits of beetroot that just might change your mind:
Beetroot is high in iron, which means it can assist in preventing anemia and low blood hemoglobin. It also helps the body’s absorption of iron, which enables good blood circulation and the capacity of oxygen that the red blood cells can carry.
2. Cancer Prevention
There are several elements contained within beetroot that can help to fight cancer. The first is betacyanin, which has been linked to the reduction of tumors and precancerous lesions. Betacyanin is also what gives beetroot its dark red pigmentation. The second is betanin, which has been effective in both liver and skin tumors.
3. Heart Health
Beetroot can aid in preventing heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. This is because it has the ability to lower your blood pressure and thus stop hypertension.
4. Weight Loss and Digestion
Your digestion and metabolism can be greatly aided by beetroot. It does this by stimulating the nerves in your intestine as well as helping your body to digest your food—particularly those of the fatty variety. In addition, it contains fiber, which further aids your digestive system and helps to keep you regular. The fiber found within beetroot, as well as the protein and carbohydrates, can also help you to lose weight because they help you to feel full and satisfied longer on very few calories.
5. Recommended for Pregnancy
Beetroot is one of the best vegetables that an expectant mother can have. This is because it contains folic acid, which is imperative for the proper formation of an unborn baby’s spinal cord. As such, it also helps to prevent conditions such as spina bifida.
6. Skincare and the Aging Process
Antioxidants and phenolic compounds are found in high quantities within beetroot. This is good news because both help to remove free radicals from your system as well as prevent DNA and cell damage. This is beneficial for your skin because destroying free radicals means that it will be protected from premature aging.
Beetroot also contains anti-inflammatory properties that will further help to prevent aging and age-related diseases.
7. Optimizes Exercise
Beetroot can help reduce your muscles’ consumption of oxygen. This means that your body will require less oxygen during exercise. Therefore you will have more stamina and endurance and you’ll feel less fatigued. This is further aided by the fact that it also contains nitrate, which assists in carrying oxygen around your body. This also makes beetroot highly beneficial for pregnant women who need an extra energy boost.
8. Brain Function
Beetroot has an astounding effect on brain function, particularly in older members of the population. It helps to increase blood flow to the brain, which subsequently can assist in fighting off dementia. In addition to this, the vegetable can improve cognitive functions in people of all ages.
Beetroot juice is highly effective at helping your liver to detoxify. This is primarily due to the methionine and glycine betaine that it contains. They both stimulate the liver cells and as well as support detoxification. The juice also protects your liver from the fatty depositions that are caused by protein deficiency and alcohol abuse. No, this does not give you the excuse to drink more.
10. Sexual Health
Now we get to the fun stuff. As I previously mentioned, beetroot contains nitrate, which helps carry oxygen around your body. It does this by widening your blood vessels, which means that the blood flow to your genitals is also increased. This is the same effect that Viagra replicates. Furthermore, beetroot contains boron, a chemical compound that’s essential to the production of the human sex hormone.
So if you prefer going au naturel, try putting the little blue pill down for a night and having a glass of beetroot juice instead.