Beetroots have been valued since ancient times by Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurvedic practitioners, using them for liver support, and blood circulation.
The beetroot, Beta vulgaris, is part of plant family Amaranthaceae. Spinach and chard are also part of this family. The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant, also known as beet or red beet, however there are other varieties displaying golden or white coloured taproots (we refer to red beet in this article). Both the root and the leaves can be consumed. Other than a food, beetroots can also be used as a food colouring or in hair dyes.
Benefits & Uses
The taste of beetroot is described as earthy and sweet and they can be enjoyed in various ways. Beetroots are a true superfood being rich in vitamins and minerals, especially folate and manganese but also good amounts of potassium, boron, iron and zinc. They also contain other valuable nutrients like naturally occurring nitrates, the amino acid betaine, flavonoids, antioxidants like beta-carotene and fiber, including pectin.
There has been a growing interest in the powerful natural activity of this plant in recent years. Research has confirmed various health supporting effects of red beets:
- Nitrates in beetroot support healthy blood pressure, blood circulation and blood vessel health
- Athletic performance, including stamina and endurance, is also assisted by the naturally occurring nitrates in beets
- Nitrates further support normal brain function, helping cognition and memory
- Beetroot is one of the few vegetables containing highly bioactive pigments called betalains which help to balance the body’s immune response and support neutralization of free radicals
- As an exceptionally rich source of antioxidants, potassium and the amino acid betaine, beets support cardiovascular health by helping to keep the structure of blood vessels healthy
- Antioxidants, like betalains and the amino acid betaine, assist liver detoxification processes and help to metabolize fats, making them beneficial in weight management and general health
- Beta-carotene antioxidants in beetroot support healthy eyes
- The amino acid betaine assists healthy mood and supports normal muscle growth and endurance
- Beets have also traditionally been used to support a healthy sex drive. They contain good amounts of boron which support healthy sex hormone production, as well as nitrate content, helping normal blood circulation.
Supporting health with the nutritional powers of beets is easy. Aside from the whole vegetable, beets are available as a powder to create super healthy smoothies, or in capsules for easy use. They can also be found in various formulations in combination with other herbs or nutrients. There are so many options to make the most of this earthy superfood.