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10 Benefits of Beetroot You Probably Don’t Know

10 Benefits of Beetroot You Probably Don’t Know

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 11 benefits of beetroot that just might change your mind:

1. Anemia

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.

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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.

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5. 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.

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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.

9. Detox

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.

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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.

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Tegan Jones

Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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