The ancient Greeks and Romans knew the miraculous properties of beetroot aka. red beets. The Greeks used it to lower body temperature. The Romans used it for chronic constipation. It was believed that if a man and a woman shared beetroot, it would bind them together, and they would fall in love.
I guess that part about love might still work for vegans. But hey, what do I know, I am not a love doctor. I will do a better job answering the question, does beetroot have any health benefits?
Today beetroot is considered to be extremely healthy food with many benefits. Eating raw beetroot regularly or occasionally cleanses the body and helps to neutralize toxins in the liver and kidneys.
Among the important substances contained in red beets is betamine, which has a significant effect on increasing the oxygen content of the blood by up to 400%. This has an effect on the oxidation of harmful substances in the blood and in all the body’s cells that are fed by the bloodstream. This is why beetroot is invaluable for detoxification and tumors.
Beetroot is rich in organic acids, the most important of which is folic acid. Signs of folic acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, mental tension, eczema, chapped lips and pale skin.
Folic acid also has a beneficial effect on red blood cells production and blood renewal, and helps to prevent anemia. It lowers homocysteine levels, which are associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease. Homocysteine increases during menopause and has a bad effect on bones, which can lead to osteoporosis, and homocysteine is also linked to depression and depression.
Beetroot also activates the amino acid methionine in our metabolism. Methionine brings sulfur into our bodies and thus glow, firmness and suppleness to our skin, hair and nails. People with severe hair loss may benefit from drinking fresh beetroot juice.
Don’t just take my word for it, check out this NIH article about beetroot benefits – click here.
Why Are Red Beets Good For You?
As I already mentioned a few benefits beetroot has for our health, we are not done just yet. Let’s dig deeper and reveal why are red beets good for you.
Beetroot is rich in potassium. This mineral is known for removing water from the body, helping the body to eliminate excess sodium, which can prevent or lower high blood pressure, detoxify and bind fat.
Red beets also contain significant amounts of calcium, which is essential for the growth and strength of bones. Calcium also controls the conduction of nerve impulses to and from the brain and muscle contraction, and has an anti-allergy effect. The calcium content is particularly important for vegans who do not consume dairy products.
Beetroot also contributes significant amounts of phosphorus, which, in combination with calcium, keeps bones and teeth strong. Without phosphorus, the body cannot use the energy and B vitamins from food. It is a component of many key substances in the body and is involved in the functioning of many control mechanisms.
It is also rich in fiber, with a good two grams of dietary fiber per 100 g of beetroot, which affects the digestive process in the stomach and speeds up the elimination of waste substances from the body.
The vitamin C content is also worth mentioning, with 3.6 mg per 100 g of this vital vitamin, which is essential for the formation and maintenance of connective tissue, wound healing, healthy gums and general well-being.
There is a strong link between vitamin C intake and a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cataracts and even some cancers.
The color of beetroot is due to beta-cyanin, an anthocyanin-like dye that cannot be completely broken down by the body, so some of it is excreted in the urine and feces, which are darkly colored.
With its metabolic coloring agents, beetroot, supported by its other components, is one of the most potent anticancer agents. Beetroot dyes act as antioxidants in the fight against free radicals.
Here is an article from NIH website about why are red beets good for you – click here.
Can You Eat Raw Beetroot in Salad?
If you like the taste of raw beetroot, a few thin slices of raw beetroot can be eaten every morning before meals. Smaller beetroot tubers, up to the size of an orange, have the most value. Larger tubers are usually tougher and their flesh is a paler red color.
If you don’t like slices, and you prefer the whole experience then you can even pull the beetroot out of the soil, wash it, peel it, and eat it like an apple.
Any other raw serving options? Can you eat raw beetroot in salad as well?
Thinly sliced raw beetroot is excellent when prepared in a salad and served with a main course. Grated raw beetroot or thinly sliced beetroot is a wonderful addition and a nice addition to a green or other salad.
Why raw? Raw beetroot helps to strengthen and purify the blood and blood vessels, arteriosclerosis, suppresses tumors and some serious diseases, helps with viral illnesses and colds, is a preventive protection against the effects of harmful radioactive and other radiation, slows aging, cleanses and detoxifies the liver, kidneys and bladder.
You can try our recipe for a tasty and rich in nutrients beetroot salad with pumpkin seeds.
Are Beetroot Leaves Nutritious?
Few people know that beet greens are edible, so if you can get your hands on them, you can make great use of them. So, are beetroot leaves nutritious?
Since beetroot is usually sold in shops without the leaves, many people do not realize that the tasty leaves can also be eaten and are very nutritious.
Young beet greens can be used for salads and soups. They can be prepared the same way as swiss chard. The leaves have a strong flavor though, so use them wisely. You are most likely to find leafy beetroot in organic shops.
Since beetroot leaves don’t stay fresh and crisp for very long after harvesting (up to a week), it’s best to gather quick-use ideas in advance, so they don’t go to waste. Also note that you will need to free up some extra space in the fridge.
Beetroot leaves are rich in vitamin A as well. You can get 100% recommended daily dose of vitamin A in a serving of about 80 g of beetroot leaves. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble antioxidant that is important for the reproductive and immune systems, as well as for healthy, glowing skin.
Beetroot leaves are also high in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity and is needed to fight flu and colds, so it is especially important to eat them in winter.
And we must not forget polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that can help reduce and prevent various inflammations in the body. Polyphenols are found both in the green part of the beetroot and in the root.
Is It Good to Eat Beetroot Everyday?
If you keep the dosage at a reasonable amount, sure, it is good to eat beetroot every day.
Here is an idea how you can consume beetroot easily. Since it is very juicy, it is suitable for juicing. If possible, squeeze fresh raw beet juice daily. Consume it on an empty stomach with some water. Cooked, pasteurized or canned juice does not have the same nutritional value.
So, how much beetroot per day? One kilo of raw beetroot yields up to half a liter of juice. Adults can drink a maximum of half a liter of raw beetroot juice per day for two months without interruption. For young people up to 20 years of age, the recommended limit is a maximum of 0.3 liter of juice per day without interruption for two months, 0.2 liter for children up to 15 years of age and 0.15 liter for children up to 10 years of age.
Here is some food for thought with NIH article about beetroot juice benefits – click here.
Is It Safe to Eat Beets While Pregnant?
There are many concerns among pregnant women about whether they can consume certain foods during pregnancy. We often come across the question: Is it safe to eat beets while pregnant?
Beetroot during pregnancy is not harmful, it is even recommended. You can consume it in any form – raw, cooked, pickled or juiced, but you must be careful with the amount, as there are several risk factors if you exaggerate:
- Betaine, which is contained in beetroot, can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems during pregnancy.
- The nitrates in beetroot can contribute to feelings of weakness during pregnancy.
- Drinking beet juice can temporarily paralyze the vocal cords.
- High levels of oxalate in beetroot juice can contribute to kidney stones.
Beetroot in pregnancy is certainly safe at 100-150 grams per day, but for larger amounts it is wisest to consult a doctor. How much beetroot you can consume and at what time is best determined by your doctor or other health care professional.
To learn more about betaine, I recommend this NIH article – click here.
10 Beetroot Benefits During Pregnancy
It is true that beetroot can cause some discomfort in pregnancy, but within normal limits there should be no cause for fear, as this nutritious plant has many more positive effects. Here are 10 beetroot benefits during pregnancy.
- It reduces the risk of birth defects
Beetroot is rich in folic acid, which is necessary for proper tissue growth. Folic acid is essential for the development of the baby’s spinal cord during the first three months of pregnancy. Eating beetroot during pregnancy will ensure the proper development of the baby’s spinal cord and prevent defects such as spina bifida.
- Strengthens immunity
It is particularly important for pregnant women to have a strong immune system to protect themselves against many diseases and infections. Beetroot has antioxidant properties that continuously strengthen immunity during pregnancy.
- Prevents osteoporosis
Women in other conditions are more prone to osteoporosis than others. Beetroot is rich in calcium and silicon, so eating beetroot during pregnancy will prevent calcium deficiencies in the teeth and bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Regulates metabolism
Beetroot is an excellent source of potassium. Consuming beet juice or raw beetroot during pregnancy balances electrolytes and controls metabolism. In addition, it also maintains blood pressure at a normal level.
- Prevents joint pain and swelling
Beetroot contains betaine, which is an anti-inflammatory agent. Therefore, if you consume beetroot during pregnancy, you will save your joints from swelling and yourself from pain.
- It purifies the blood
Beetroot has the ability to purify the blood. By purifying your blood, you will prevent the possibility of an infection that can put your baby at risk. You will become stronger, more resilient, which is very useful during childbirth. The presence of beetroot in your body will also maintain your blood pressure during labor, so beetroot is more than a good choice during pregnancy.
- Prevents anemia
Beetroot is a rich source of iron and increases hemoglobin in the blood. By eating beetroot during pregnancy, you will prevent the risk of anemia and ensure that you have the right amount of hemoglobin.
- Controls blood sugar levels
Beetroot has a low glycemic index, so the conversion of sugar in the body is a rather lengthy process. If you eat beetroot during pregnancy, you might stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- Ensures healthy fetal development
Drinking beetroot juice ensures optimal fetal development due to its high content of vitamins A and E, and beet juice is also a very healthy choice during pregnancy.
- Improves digestion
Eating beetroot during pregnancy improves digestion and prevents many digestive disorders. It also contributes to healthy stools and prevents constipation.
Can You Eat Raw Beets When Pregnant?
Yes, beetroot can be eaten raw, cooked, pickled or juiced during pregnancy. Just be careful with the amount you consume so as not to overdo it, as too much can cause minor inconveniences.
Does Beetroot Have Any Negative Effects?
Beetroot can also contain harmful nitrates, which are more abundant the more it has grown under intensive conditions (overfertilized soil with artificial nitrogen fertilizers). Most of these unwanted substances are found near the root and on the top of the beetroot, so be thorough when peeling the beetroot.
Otherwise, beetroot in excessive quantities can cause inconveniences such as diarrhea or gastrointestinal problems.
Drinking large quantities of beetroot juice can temporarily paralyze the vocal cords, and the high level of oxalate in beetroot juice can, in exceptional cases, contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Therefore, consumption is discouraged for persons suffering from kidney stone problems.
Who Should Not Take Beetroot?
People who have oxalate kidney stones (the most common type of kidney stone) should take care not to consume too many beetroots.
Eating beetroot is also not recommended for people who have an allergy to bright red fruit, individual intolerance, a tendency to heartburn and flatulence, as well as other more serious gastrointestinal diseases (gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome), diabetes, a tendency to diarrhea.
You may not be a fan of this wonderful plant, but once you realize what beetroot can do for your health, you might just take a liking to it.
Numerous scientific studies have confirmed that beetroot regulates blood pressure, is used to prevent cancer, cleanses the liver, treats anemia, improves the body’s resistance and boosts libido, all thanks to its rich nutritional profile.
It is also excellent for preventing muscle degeneration, improves circulation, strengthens skin collagen, is good for preventing cataracts, boosts immunity and treats respiratory problems.
All these benefits of beetroot are attributed to its high concentration of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.