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Beetroot: how healthy is it?

by Josephine Andrews
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Beetroot is not only characterized by its eponymous dark red color , it is also known for its earthy taste. Not everyone likes it. But if you leave the purple tuber on the shelf, you’re missing out on a vegetable that’s packed with vitamins and minerals. You can find out how healthy beetroot is here.

Are Beets Healthy?

The beetroot (botanical: Beta vulgaris L.) is an old medicinal plant. It was already used in traditional Arabic medicine for a variety of diseases. And even today it is considered to be health-promoting in various ways.

It contains a lot of important vitamins and minerals . It is good for the brain and heart, helps with digestive problems and supports athletic performance.

Even if various studies of the tuber confirm positive effects on health: As is so often the case in the field of nutrition, it is also the case here that many things are considered probable, but not certain.

It is difficult if not impossible to create the same and, above all, repeatable framework conditions for all subjects. Sometimes only results from animal studies exist. According to studies, beetroot should have the following properties, among others:

Beetroot is good for the immune system

The beetroot contains secondary plant substances. They give the tuber its violet color and strengthen the human immune system. Among other things, they have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Prevents cancer

The red plant pigment betanin in beetroot is an antioxidant. This means it traps aggressive free radicals that occur in excess due to oxidative stress such as air pollution or smoking. If there are too many free radicals, they can trigger cancer or cardiovascular diseases, for example.

The red tuber also appears to contain various compounds that slow down cancer cell division and growth, including kaempferol, betaine, ferulic acid, caffeic acid and rutin.

Good for the intestinal flora and digestion

Beetroot is rich in fiber. These are plant fibers that serve as food for the “good” intestinal bacteria. An intestinal flora that is as diverse as possible is considered to be beneficial to health.

This positive effect affects digestion. Dietary fibers help to regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. Beetroot also reduces the risk of diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer or type 2 diabetes.

Those who are not used to eating high-fiber foods could experience a laxative effect and get diarrhea – or bloating – from beetroot.

Positive effects on blood pressure

There is nitrate in beetroot. While too much of it, or the intermediate nitrite, is harmful, some of it in the body is good. The adult body converts nitrite into nitrogen oxide, which causes the blood vessels to dilate and transport more oxygen.

Eating beetroot or its juice also lowers blood pressure. This reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

In addition, beetroot has a certain iron content. Iron is an important component of the red blood pigment hemoglobin, which transports oxygen into and carbon dioxide out of the body. For example, if there are too few red blood cells due to an iron deficiency, this leads to anemia – and a poorer supply of oxygen.

protective shield for the liver

Beets and beetroot juice are good for the liver. Thanks to its antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and iron, beetroot protects the organ from inflammation and oxidative stress caused by aggressive oxygen free radicals. It also improves the liver’s ability to transport toxins out of the body.

Good for heart health

Beetroot promotes heart health, among other things, due to the folic acid, it contains. It is said to reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by reducing the homocysteine level ​​in the blood.

This amino acid is important for metabolism, but too much of it causes the blood vessels to narrow. However, beetroot only works temporarily in this case. If you want to benefit permanently from the heart protection of the tuber, you have to eat it regularly.

Strengthens bones and brain

Manganese is in beetroot. This is an enzyme component that is involved in the development of connective tissue, cartilage and bones in the human body. So the tuber makes the bones strong.

After drinking beetroot juice, test persons showed that the brain also benefits from the beetroot and its blood circulation-promoting effect through nitrate: They had shorter reaction times. In addition, beetroot seems to promote decision-making and working memory.

Supports weight loss

Beetroot does not directly help with fat burning . But it consists largely of water , is low in calories and high in fiber. That means it fills you up without adding a lot of calories to your daily account. Their moderate protein content also helps to satisfy hunger and, in the best case, to consume fewer total calories.

Beetroot promotes performance

Since beetroot increases the oxygen saturation of the blood, its consumption can also improve athletic performance. A review of studies showed that the athletes who drank beetroot juice had more stamina and tired later.

What are the nutritional values ​​and ingredients of beetroot?

It’s not for nothing that the purple tuber looks so plump – under its thin skin there are a lot of valuable nutrients and ingredients.

Thanks to their high water content of almost 90 percent, beetroot is very low in calories and fat and has a low sugar content. In return, it provides a comparatively large amount of dietary fiber. These indigestible plant fibers are considered filling and aid in digestion.

Beetroot contains various organic acids that create the earthy-sweet taste. The dye betanin is not only responsible for the red color, but is also said to provide various health benefits.

Above all, the dark red tubers contain many vitamins and minerals. For example, 100 grams cover 7 percent of the daily requirement for potassium, 14 percent for magnesium, 20 percent for folic acid and 10 percent for iron.

On average, 100 grams of cooked beetroot have the following ingredients:

  • Calories : 41
  • Protein : 1.5 grams
  • Fat : 0.1 grams
  • Carbohydrates : 8.4 grams
  • Fiber : 2.5 grams
  • Water : 86.2 grams
  • Iron : 0.9 mg
  • Folic acid : 83 mcg
  • Potassium : 407 mg
  • Calcium : 29 mg
  • Copper : 190 µg
  • Magnesium: 25 mg
  • Natrium: 58 mg
  • Niacin: 0,2 mg
  • Phosphor: 45 mg
  • Vitamin A: 2 µg
  • Vitamin B1: 0,03 mg
  • Vitamin B2: 0,04 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0,05 mg
  • Vitamin C: 10 mg
  • Vitamin E: 0,05 mg
  • Zink: 590 µg

You should keep this in mind with beetroot

Basically, beetroot is healthy. Although it is rare, the following side effects can occur:

  • Allergies : There is no study evidence of allergy to beetroot. Since it contains little histamine, it can also be eaten by people with histamine intolerance. However, there have been isolated reports of reactions such as asthma, rashes or tightness in the throat after contact or consumption of beetroot.
  • Urinary stones : There is a lot of oxalic acid in beetroot. This not only inhibits the absorption of minerals such as iron, magnesium or calcium. It also promotes the occurrence of urinary stones.
  • Nitrate poisoning : Nitrate is not dangerous in itself, but can convert to nitrite if stored incorrectly or when heated. In small amounts, this substance is harmless to healthy adults. However, small children and infants still lack a certain enzyme that prevents the nitrite from changing the red blood pigment hemoglobin. The result: the oxygen transport comes to a standstill. This can be life-threatening. Even during pregnancy, beetroot and other nitrate-containing foods should not end up on the plate if possible.
  • Urine discoloration : If you consume more than 500 milliliters of juice or 700 grams of pure beetroot, your urine and stools may turn pink. This is not dangerous and will go away on its own.
  • If you have a pancreatic disease such as pancreatitis , an acute inflammation, you should avoid eating beetroot or only eat it in small amounts because the body cannot produce enough digestive enzymes to process them.

Storage of beetroot

Beets should be stored in the fridge. It stays there for two to three weeks. If they are fresh, i.e. bought loose, wrap them in newspaper to keep them from drying out. The plump tuber loses water easily when exposed to air.

If you would like to store beetroot for longer, it is best to do this in a wooden or plastic box filled with moist sand in a cool, dark cellar at around three to four degrees. Burying in sand prevents the beets from drying out. Stored this way, it will keep for several months.

You can also freeze the tubers. It is best to do this in portions and with beets that have been boiled and peeled until al dente – then they are quickly at hand to conjure up delicious dishes.

With a little salt , sugar, vinegar and spices such as cloves or bay leaves, beetroot can also be pickled and thus preserved. To do this, cook the tubers, peel, chop, place in boiled jars and fill with stock. Seal jars and cook in a saucepan or large saucepan filled with water for half an hour.

use

Beetroot is nutritious and delicate. Boiled in water, it loses many of its healthy components, especially vitamins. Better: either cook with the skin on or bake the unpeeled tuber in the oven and only then peel it.

It is best to use gloves when processing the beetroot. If your hands still glow red afterwards, the color goes away with lemon juice.

If you want to preserve as many nutrients as possible, it is best to eat the beetroot raw – for example finely grated as a carpaccio. Beetroot juice is also healthy and nutritious, especially when it is self-pressed, pure – without sugar and unwanted additives .

Beetroot tastes delicious in a salad, risotto or pureed as a soup. It is great to combine with apple, orange or goat cheese. If you want to eat the purple tuber as a snack, you can process it into healthy beetroot chips.

To do this, grate the tuber into thin slices, coat in salt and oil, place on baking paper and place in the oven at 130 degrees top/bottom heat for 30 to 45 minutes.

What is beetroot?

Beetroot (according to Duden, “beetroot” is also correct) is a winter vegetable. Their season runs from September to March. The deep red root or tuber vegetable tastes earthy and aromatic and belongs to the goosefoot family. Beetroot is thus related to chard or sugar beet. In addition to beetroot, there are also yellow and white beets.

The tubers like sandy soil and preferably sun, but they can also cope with partial shade if necessary. Beetroot is an easily cultivated plant that originally comes from the Mediterranean region.

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