Beetroot is a vegetable that is often underestimated. There are, however, a few reasons why you should include more of this root vegetable in your diet. Not only does this superfood look gorgeous in dishes like salads, they are also packed with phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. A true superfood – here are 5 reasons why you should include more beetroot in your diet.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a global problem that affects many people. Studies have shown that beetroot juice can be used as part of a strategy to help control blood pressure.
Beetroot juice contains highly bioavailable nitrate that naturally helps nitric oxide to become more available. Nitric Oxide helps the blood vessels expand and therefore lowers blood pressure. It is an easy and cost – effective strategy that can help to control the blood pressure of healthy people, those that are pre – hypertensive, and even those already diagnosed with high blood pressure and being treated with medication.
This benefit is more prominent for people with a baseline blood pressure that is already high and those with a BMI with more than 25kg per square meter.
Beetroot contains powerful antioxidants that can help to protect the body against free radical damage.
Free radicals are constantly forming in the body that has the potential to cause major damage. It has also been linked to other diseases such as cancer, arthritis and diabetes. Antioxidants protect the body against free radicals. By neutralizing them and helping to repair the damage caused by these free radicals. The body should thus have a good antioxidant balance to prevent oxidative stress and free radicals and remain healthy.
Although there are lots of different antioxidant compounds within beetroot, betalain is one that stands out. Betalain is a pigment with strong antioxidant activity and a major bioactive compound in beetroot. Red beets have a high concentration of betalain which has been shown to protect cells from oxidative damage.
Beetroot can thus help you to stay healthy and neutralize the negative effect of oxidative stress.
The reason why it is so helpful is because it increases the bioavailability of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide can increase blood flow to muscles and help the mitochondria to work more effectively and produce enough energy for the cell. Beetroot can improve exercise performance when you do high – intensity exercise or any exercise lasting 12 – 40 minutes.
Beetroot is a great source of fiber and includes beneficial prebiotic fibers such as pectin. It is well known that fiber is important to keep the gut healthy and in addition, prebiotics serve as food for the good bacteria in your gut helping to keep them active. This can relieve digestive conditions like constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Therefore, beetroot is an easy way to keep your gut happy.
Beetroot also has an anti – inflammatory effect, largely due to the betalains and beetroot extracts that are potent anti – inflammatory agents. Betalain seems to inhibit key players in the whole inflammation process; and thereby interferes with proinflammatory activity. Inflammation in the body is not always bad. Its part of a normal response to things like injury and infection. However, when in inflammation becomes chronic and unresolved, it can play a role in the onset and progression of other diseases and conditions. This is why it is important to manage inflammation and restore normal immune function.
Include more fresh vegetables and fruits, especially beetroot, in your diet to reap the benefits; including reduction in inflammation, as well as being a natural super food. Beetroot should be the number one choice when it comes to your veggie intake. Be sure to add some to your next shopping list. You can work beetroot into any smoothie that you can think of, cook it, let it cool , eat it whole, dice it into salads, the possibilities are endless.
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