Beetroot is a vegetable which belongs to the family of spinach or chard. Both leaves and roots are edible, however, we generally consume the root portion because it is sweet. The round root has a bright purple color and has high sugar content due to which it tastes good when eaten raw. Beetroot is also used in food coloring and as a medicinal plant.
Beetroot has an exceptionally high nutritional value. It is rich in Calcium, Iron, Vitamin E and Vitamin C. It also has a high content of manganese, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. For people with low hemoglobin, it is a blessing from nature. The content of the beetroot is highly sensitive to temperature. With the increase in temperature, more than 25% of folic acid and vitamin C is lost. Vitamin C is also water soluble, hence it gets lost even during boiling. The antioxidant content also decreases on boiling or cooking. It is best to consume beetroot as raw or mild steamed (baked).
Benefits of Consuming Beetroot
It is a usual custom to throw away the leafy part of the beetroot. This leafy part is rich in Iron, Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin A. Vitamin K play a major role in blood clotting. An adult male requires 120 mg and an adult female requires 90 mg of Vitamin K. One cup (230ml) beetroot provides 150 mg of Vitamin K. Hence, the leafy part should also be consumed either raw (bitter in taste) or mild cooked.
Some of the benefits of beetroots are:
Detoxification of the body: Beetroot is a well-known blood purifier which removes the toxins from the body. It has a chemical ‘betanin’ which gives the beetroot its color and it's also a powerful antioxidant. This antioxidant is responsible for the reduction of bad cholesterol and protection of artery walls, heart diseases & strokes.
Reduction in blood pressure: Beetroot contains nitrate which is converted into nitric oxide in our body through a chemical process which is believed to lower the blood pressure. Nitric oxide gas is also produced during this process which helps in relaxing and dilating the blood vessels which further increases the blood flow in our body.
Improves metabolism: Beetroot has a high sugar content but has low calories and fat (almost zero). It has a high fiber content which increases the metabolism rate and improves the overall athletic performance of the body. It also helps in preventing constipation and inflammation due to the presence of Choline. Choline also helps in maintaining the structure of the cellular membrane, transmission of nerve impulses, absorption of fat and chronic inflammation.
Reduction in blood sugar: Most of the people believe that beetroot contains a high amount of sugar and should not be consumed by diabetics. However, it contains an antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid which helps in lowering the glucose levels, increase in insulin sensitivity and reduction in stress-induced hormonal changes.
Rich in vitamin and minerals: Beetroot is rich in fiber and minerals like potassium & manganese which are important for health. It also has Vitamin C which boosts immunity and folate which is essential for tissue growth. Fiber helps in improving the digestive system. It also has high protein and iron content. One of the other advantages of consuming beetroot is healthy hair and skin. Beetroot is one of the best home remedies for itchy scalp and flakes. Beetroot can be applied on the scalp in the form of concentrated liquid or mixed with vinegar & ginger juice.
Advantages of Beetroots
Beetroot has so many advantages, yet there are some common side effects which are discussed below:
Kidney stones: Beetroot is rich in oxalate which can cause kidney stones. If you already have a problem with kidney stones, you should always consult a doctor before consuming beetroot. Oxalate has a high affinity for calcium due to which it can combine with calcium in the body to form kidney stones (calcium kidney stones are most common).
The sudden drop in blood pressure level: Nitrate present in the beetroot lowers the blood pressure by converting itself into nitric oxide gas which is known for dilating blood vessels. This sudden blood flow decreases the blood pressure. Many researchers have linked this sudden blood pressure drop to other problems in the body such as kidney damage, liver damage, constipation etc.
Gastric problems during pregnancy: Beetroot contains nitrite which can have toxic effects on the mother as well as on the fetus. Further, beetroot can cause flatulence, bloating and cramping in the stomach during pregnancy. This can even lead to constipation and diarrhea.
Some of the other disadvantages of beetroot include rashes, colored stools, gout (a type of arthritis), liver damage etc.
To conclude, beetroots are one of the healthiest vegetables, however, if you are experiencing any side effect you should stop consuming them immediately.
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