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Beets: Nutrition, Health Benefits, How to Use Them?
Beets are root vegetables extracted from underground and used for their nutritional benefits. They are red in colour and can be consumed in the form of salads and juices. Mostly eaten raw, but some people prefer cooking it or making beet pickles.
The vegetable is a taproot and belongs to the family of sugar beets but isn’t considered the same as white beets. Sugar beets are used for sugar extraction in manufacturing units for its industrial applications in food sectors whereas the sugar in beetroot cannot be extracted.
Read this article to understand the nutritional and health benefits of beetroots and how you can use this super veggie.
Nutrients in Beetroots
Beetroots are a rich source of a lot of useful nutrients.
dietary fibres are an essential part of our diet for their very crucial role in digestion. The fibres help in the prevention of constipation or severe medical conditions such as haemorrhoids which makes it difficult for the human body to remove stools. Dietary fibres retain water, thus helping with the softening of stools and making it easier for its passage into the gut region.
Apart from this, other benefits of adding fibres for a healthy diet include weight management, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disorders, cholesterol and sugar level management and reduction and a healthy bowel movement.
Beetroots have 8% of total carbohydrates. The total carb amount is very less and thus, doesn’t have any effect on the blood sugar level. Carbs are a source of instant energy for the human body and an adequate amount must be included in the diet. Beets provide fewer amount of carbohydrates, so it doesn’t help promote weight gain or weight loss.
Vitamins are considered essential nutrients and are needed in comparatively lesser amounts than macronutrients but hold a very important role in the overall functioning of the human body. Beetroots are a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin B9 that help as antioxidants and for the formation of red blood cells and cell growth, respectively. Additionally, the vegetable also has Vitamin B6 and magnesium and copper.
Our body requires minerals for the healthy functioning of the human system. Some of the minerals that beetroots contain are potassium, manganese and iron which overall help in the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems.
The taproot has certain natural plant compounds such as betanin, which is the pigment giving beetroot red colour, and inorganic nitrates and violaxanthin are also found in other coloured beetroots. Bioactive compounds also hold a certain nutritional profile.
Health Benefits of Eating Beets
In this section, let's take a look at the various health benefits eating beets −
Improves Athletic Performance
Athletes consuming beetroot juice have shown higher performance. The inorganic nitrates in beetroot have been known to increase mitochondria efficiency which in turn increases energy levels in the body. Also, this increases the oxygen level which enhances athletic performance.
Betalains are plant pigments that are found in beetroot and have been known to exhibit anti-inflammation properties according to some research studies. Beetroot juice and betalain capsules made from beetroots have been shown to reduce kidney inflammation, joint inflammation and pain chronic inflammation caused by severe medical conditions such as cancer or cardiac diseases.
Healthy Digestive System
The dietary fibres in beets help improve the movement of food in the intestines and allow undisturbed bowel movements which reduce the risk of constipation and haemorrhoids.
Healthy Brain Functioning
The copper and inorganic nitrates in the beets are great nutrition for the brain and neural system. They enhance the production of neurotransmitters.
Beetroots help repair damaged red blood cells and enhance haemoglobin levels and blood circulation. It also makes the supply of oxygen to body parts better.
Beets contain nitrates that can help lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
How to Use Beetroots?
Beetroots can be eaten raw or cooked.
Grate or thinly slice raw beets and add them to salads for a burst of colour and flavour. The vegetable can also be prepared as a dip by blending it with yoghurt and enjoyed as a dressing too. It can also be grated and used as a garnishing item or sprinkled on top of certain meals.
Roast beets in the oven until tender and enjoy as a side dish or add them to sandwiches and wraps.
Some also prefer boiling it. Boil beets until tender, then peel and chop them to add to salads or puree for soups and sauces.
Pickle beets by boiling them with vinegar and spices for a tangy, crunchy snack or condiment.
It is also a trend for health-conscious people to prepare juice with beets and add them to smoothies or cocktails for a boost of colour and nutrition.
Add grated beets to baked goods, such as muffins or cakes, for a naturally sweet and moist ingredient.
Beetroots contain a very high amount of water content, that is, up to 87%, 2-3% of fibres and carbs of about 8%. The vegetable is low in protein and fat content and has roughly 40-60 calories per 100 grams. It also contains a certain amount of essential nutrients and trace elements like iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium which makes it healthier to eat. Additionally, the taproot has natural plant compounds which provide health benefits besides pigmentation.
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