Beets or beetroots belong to the family Chenopodiaceae, and are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Beets are seasonal vegetables (June to October), however, are available throughout the year. They are popular ingredients of salads and soups, and are also pickled.
The health benefits is what makes this vegetable so popular among health conscious people. Moreover, their rich, red-purplish color makes them a suitable candidate in food coloring agents. Besides the reddish-purple variety, there also exists the white, golden-yellow or even rainbow-colored beet varieties. So, what's all this clamor about their nutritional value? Let's find out ...
Prevents Colon Cancer
Beets contain amino acid betaine, which has anti-carcinogenic properties. There's something called the red beet therapy, which is given to leukemia and tumor patients. 2 pounds of raw and mashed beets, when consumed on a daily basis is seen to help alleviate the condition to some extent.
Lowers Cholesterol Level
Regular consumption of beets can reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the blood by almost 30%. The fiber in the beets reduce serum cholesterol. They are also observed to lower triglyceride levels, thereby helping to keep bad cholesterol at bay.
Improves Heart Health
Beets contain betaine, which lower levels of homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine is harmful for blood vessels in the body. This effect of beets may help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, the high levels of potassium in beets lowers the risks of strokes. A study conducted on beet juice reveals that the nitrates in beet juice are converted to nitrites by the saliva during the digestion process. The high nitrite content helps lower blood pressure levels, thereby improving hypertension cases.
Instant Energy Source
Beets are rich in carbohydrates, which is why they are termed as instant energy sources. They can be regarded as body fuel. Besides being zero trans fat and zero saturated fat, they are also low in calories, which means beets serve as foods that pacify one's hunger. Moreover, the sugar content (highest among vegetables) satiates one's sweet tooth as well without harming the body.
Prevents Birth Defects
During childbearing years, women should consume adequate amounts of folic acid. Folate or folic acid is necessary for creating DNA and RNA, during rapid cell development. A deficiency in folic acid can spearhead neural-tube defects in the fetus, like spina bifida and anencephaly. Beets contain 136 grams of folate per cup, which makes them suitable pregnancy foods.
Prevents Osteoporosis
Healthy bone production and maintenance requires appropriate levels of magnesium and calcium. The high levels of magnesium in beets makes them suitable foods for women worried about developing osteoporosis. However, beet greens should not be consumed by osteoporosis sufferers. This is because beet greens are high in oxalic acid, which hampers calcium metabolism.
Anti-inflammatory Properties
The betaine content in beets reduces inflammation of bones, joints, throat, and even blood vessels by 20%. Thus, is very helpful to those suffering from asthma and osteoporosis.
Prevents Cognitive Disorders
Cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia can be prevented by eating beets. Beets are high in antioxidants, which destroy free radicals. Free radicals are known to damage cells in the brain and other parts of the body. Antioxidants destroy these free radicals, thus, protecting the brain cells.
Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Those who know how nutritious beets are will find a way to incorporate this vegetable into the daily diet. Don't miss out on the hidden treasures found within a beet!