How often do you eat beetroot? Probably not very often… Which is a shame, because beets are amazingly good for you! They’re literally loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals, keep your blood sugar in control, are great source of energy, and have many many other valuable health properties which I am going to tell you about.
Here are 10 most important reasons why you should include beetroot into your diet
(there are many more reasons, trust me 🙂 )
1. Lower Your Blood Pressure
Beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in just a few hours. People have known for some time that juice may help lower blood pressure, but in 2010 UK researchers revealed that nitrate is the special ingredient in beetroot which lowers blood pressure and may help to fight heart disease.
In a Queen Mary University of London study, which was funded by the British Heart Foundation and published online in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, healthy participants had to drink a glass of beetroot juice while second group had a dummy (placebo) drink. Third group took nitrate tablets. Blood pressure was lowered within 24 hours in people who took nitrate tablets and those who drank beetroot juice!
The beetroot contains naturally occurring nitrates in high concentration, which are converted into nitric oxide (nitrites) in your body. Nitric oxide widens blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow, therefore lowering the blood pressure and also delivering more oxygen to places lacking in it.
2. Brain power
Increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain helps to prevent dementia. Nitrate when converted to nitrite also helps in the better transmission of neural impulses, making the brain work better.
3. Helps with exercise
Proper transportation of oxygen to various parts of the body increases a person’s energy and helps you to exercise better and longer. Beets are high in “good” sugars, the good kind of sugars that are gradually released into your system, which makes them perfect for intense exercising.
4. Fight Inflammation
Beets are a great source of betaine, a nutrient that helps to protects cells from environmental stress. Anti-inflammatory molecules of betaine provide anti-inflammatory benefits for all body systems. It also helps to fight inflammation, protect your organs, prevent cardiovascular diseases, and likely prevent other numerous chronic diseases.
5. Anti-Cancer Properties
In a study done at the Howard University, Washington DC, it was found that betacyanin found in beets helped slow the growth of tumours by 12.5 percent in patients with breast and prostate cancer. Beetroot extract is currently being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.
6. Helps with constipation
Beetroot is a great laxative because of its high soluble fibre content. It helps to regulate your bowel movement by softening stools, cleansing the colon and flushing out the harmful toxins.
7. Rich in valuable nutrients
Vitamin C boosts your immunity, potassium is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function, manganese is good for your bones and internal organs, silica is used by body to use calcium efficiently. Also rich in phosphorus and copper. Beetroot contains a lot of iron which is exactly what you need ( a lot of it ) if your iron is low or you are diagnosed with anaemia.
8. For pregnant women
Beets contain folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects. Folic acid is important for pregnant mums and unborn babies because it is an essential for the proper formation of the child’s spinal cord, and helps to protect the child from congenital disorders.
9. Detoxification Support
Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver. Both beets roots and beet greens are very powerful detoxifiers. They help the liver to flush out the toxins.
10. Reduces “bad” cholesterol
Betacyanin, the compound that gives beetroot its colour and is also a powerful antioxidant, helps to reduce the oxidation of low density cholesterol and prevents it from depositing on the walls of the arteries. This protects the heart from potential heart attacks and stroke.
Ok, now when you know all the nutrition part, let’s move to the smoothie part 🙂
Beets’ flavour blends best with strawberries and other berries, citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines (satsumas, mandarins) and lemons, and also pineapple and bananas (You can also use avocado for creamy consistency instead of bananas but you will need to add a little bit more of sweetener – dates or honey). I always add some greens (spinach, kale, chard, beetroots greens) to it too. As a result – you get a very nutritionally rich smoothie, which every cell of your body will thank you for!
Berries and oranges are high in antioxidants and a rich source of vitamin C which is great for immune system. Greens are rich in iron and folate. It’s always a good idea to eat together Iron rich food with food containing Vitamin C as we don’t really absorb much iron from plants unless we add vitamin C to it. A dose of 25mg of vitamin C taken together with a meal increases iron absorption by 65% – in the intestines, vitamin C enhances iron absorption by protecting iron from oxidation.
Cut the beet into small pieces before blending since it’s a hard vegetable, and only use them if you have a high-speed blender similar to Vitamix, Berg, etc. I have a Berg blender and is it deals with beetroot amazingly. But if your blender can’t handle it – then you can lightly steam them before blending or simply juice them raw instead in a juicer( or you can always eat them in the salads)
The leaves ( green part of the beets) are also excellent in smoothies if you are don’t have ( or had enough 🙂 ) of your spinach or kale, and also amazing in stir-fries, curries and soups. The leaves should be used within the first few days of purchase but the roots will last for months in your fridge.
- Handful of fresh spinach
- 1 small red beetroot, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup frozen berries - blueberries/grapes/strawberries/raspberries/blackcurrant/redcurrant
- 1 medium banana, peeled
- 1 small orange/tangerine/satsuma, peeled and deseeded.
- 2-3 dates, pitted ( can add more if prefer sweeter taste)
- 1 cm piece of ginger, cut into small pieces (optional)
- 2 cups water ( add more water in the end if you like it more runny)
- Use high speed powerful blender
- Add all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth.
- You can also use coconut water, almond milk, any other nut or oat milk.
- Adjust sweetness if desired, adding another date or teaspoon of honey if needed.
- You can always add some superfoods such as chia/hemp seeds, baobab powder