Benefits of red beetroot (Beta vulgaris)
Beetroot is native to southern Europe. The ancient Assyrians and Greeks used it for its nutritional qualities. Different civilizations used it to treat various health problems such as fever, headaches, difficult digestion and malnutrition. There are several varieties of beetroot, white is mainly used by the sugar industry, yellow and red is the most nutritionally interesting and healing variety. Red beetroot is rich in vitamins A, C, B complex, folic acid and minerals such as magnesium, iron and phosphorus. Its wealth of nutrients provides immediate energy and revitalises the body. Its edible leaves are also rich in folic acid, beta-carotene, calcium and iron.
Red beetroot is one of the best vegetables for our health because it has many interesting properties, especially for athletes. It is eaten prepared or juiced. The leaves are also used. Red beetroot is a particularly useful vegetable for humans because it protects against cancerous tumours and congenital abnormalities, helps to reduce blood pressure and maintain the elasticity of veins, stops the production of free radicals, regulates liver function, reduces serum cholesterol, contributes to the healthy growth of the foetus, makes blood clotting in case of injury more rapid, strengthens the immune system, combats oxidative stress, maintains eye health.
Red beet root is used against anemia, fever, digestive diseases, digestive organs and lymphatic vessels, for the treatment of ulcers. It is used more as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, laxative. Being a medicinal plant with an antioxidant and vasodilator effect, from which especially the root is used, red beetroot can be used in therapy against hypertension or as a remedy in endurance athletes to increase performance, preferably to be consumed in juice form. Contains carotenoids, betalaine, lutein and zeaxanthin, phenolic compounds, vitamins, minerals. From beetroot the leaves are also used in salads or in various dishes, also leaf stems cut 10 cm with sauces in the oven.
Beetroot reduces oxygen consumption during exercise, has antioxidant, anti-tumour (betalaine), anti-inflammatory (betalaine effect), hypotensive and vasodilator effects. It is useful in hypertension, in athletes it increases performance, especially for endurance, fights against bad cholesterol, prevents certain types of cancer (through the action of carotenoids with antioxidant function), especially bowel cancer due to phenolic compounds. It is used as an ingredient in some creams to prevent burns. Taken internally it helps to tan the skin due to its carotenoid content. It has a beneficial effect on eye health due to its lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene content.
A study published by the University of Exeter in the UK showed that moderate consumption of beetroot juice can increase work time in an athlete by 16%. Researchers hypothesize that consumption of red beet juice reduces oxygen consumption during exercise due to the nitrate content of red beet. Thus, for the athlete the time will be much longer before fatigue is felt.
Researchers at the University of Exeter and Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland have observed a blood pressure lowering effect in humans after one hour of drinking 500ml of beetroot juice. The favourable effect on blood pressure lasted 3 to 4 hours after consumption of the juice. Nitrate and its conversion to nitric oxide has a favourable effect against hypertension through a vasodilatory effect.
Another Australian study published December 2012 in the Journal of Nutrition showed that drinking a large glass of beetroot juice reduces blood pressure by 4-5 mm Hg in healthy men. The novelty in this Australian study is that drinking beetroot juice allows, at least in men, to lower blood pressure in healthy people who are not on a special diet. Beet juice has at least a preventive effect against hypertension.
Eating red beetroot in juice form can sometimes cause a red or slightly red urine, this is caused by betalains, pigments found in red beetroot. However, there is no health risk. From a practical point of view, one can drink about 250 ml of red beetroot juice every day, preferably a little diluted with apple juice and consumed in small doses, e.g. 50-100 ml from the beginning), as it can be difficult for the intestines to tolerate, therefore a period of adaptation is necessary. A beetroot juice diet is especially recommended for endurance athletes such as cyclists. The nutrient richness in red beets makes this vegetable a powerful protector against cancer, birth defects and a protector of the cardiovascular system, among other health benefits.
In a study comparing red beet juice and other fruits and vegetables against chemical carcinogens, red beet juice was virtually always at the top of the list in preventing cancer-causing mutations. Beetroot is the main food of the famous borsch in traditional Russian cuisine. The rich nutrients in red beetroot contribute to its powerful protective action against cancer and birth defects.
Since the 1950s, following the work of a Hungarian doctor, Dr Alexander Ferenczi, beetroot juice has been used to treat cancer. The Hungarian doctor treated his cancer patients with beetroot juice exclusively and achieved excellent results. He also found that if treatment was stopped prematurely, the cancer recurred. His recommendation is to consume 0.5 to 1 litre of beetroot juice daily for several months.
According to some scientists, betacyanin, a complex substance that gives red beets their bright red colour, is a powerful anti-tumour agent. Red beet pigments appear to have cancer-fighting properties.
Red beetroot is rich in nitrate, a compound that is converted in the body to nitric oxide, which has the ability to relax blood pressure. In a recent study, patients who consumed 120 ml of red beetroot juice had a 10-point drop in blood pressure in less than four hours.
According to naturopath Raymond Dextreit, beetroot is extremely nutritious and provides a high energy intake. Rich in magnesium, phosphorus and the vitamin B group, it regenerates the fibrous substance of the nerves and has a sedative effect on the nervous system. It contains rubidium, a radioactive element actively involved in digestion, which justifies the removal of anaemia and demineralisation. It is recommended in neuritis and polyneuritis, cachexia, diabetes, cancer and tuberculosis. For this purpose it is recommended to consume beetroot, one glass of juice a day.
Research has also shown that beetroot strengthens the immune system and has detoxifying properties. It also helps relieve headaches and some skin problems. Some authors believe it should be consumed in moderation because of its high sugar content, including sucrose. But we now know that the glycemic load in red beets is low.
Fresh red beetroot provides only 40 calories per 100 grams. It is an alkaline food, it is easy to digest, invigorating and remineralising. This vegetable regulates liver function, promotes intestinal transit, thanks to its high fibre content, and boosts overall metabolism. It is also called 'red carrot'. In Switzerland, red beetroot is known to help heal headaches, toothache, skin and menstrual problems.
Beetroot can be eaten as a salad or as a juice, drunk just before meals. This juice is a source of energy that helps stimulate liver cell function and protects the biliary tract. Beetroot is highly alkaline, which makes it effective in treating acidosis and can help relieve constipation. Beet juice and carrot juice combined is excellent in treating gout, kidney and gallbladder problems.
Red beetroot has a beneficial effect on the liver and kidneys. The red in red beetroot exhibits its red pigments labelled flavonoids. Flavonoids relieve blood vessel spasms. Red beetroot increases capillary resistance, normalizes blood pressure, stimulates the formation of red blood cells. Therefore, red beetroot is valuable and useful as a vegetable. Red beetroot root contains sugars, organic acids, malic acid, citric acid, as well as protein, carotene, pectin, vitamins B1, B2, C and PP, trace elements potassium, iron and magnesium.
Red beetroot contains iodine, so widely used for the prevention and treatment of thyroid gland diseases in the form of shield. Red beetroot has a favourable effect on the liver and kidneys, stimulates the gastrointestinal tract. In patients with diabetes, red beetroot is valued for its high zinc content, which increases the duration of action of insulin. This aspect also improves memory, is used for the treatment of neurosis, insomnia, atherosclerosis, anemia and hypertension, cleanses the body of toxins and heavy metals. Beetroot for prevention should be consumed at least twice a week. To achieve maximum therapeutic effect, it requires constant ingestion of juice, three to four weeks of 200 g per day for 10-15 minutes before meals.
For chronic constipation, digestive, liver and bile duct problems, 100-150 grams of red beetroot is recommended. Its action is strengthened by the addition of honey. Beet juice is used in cases of constipation by enemas. In Tibetan medicine fresh beetroot juice cures sore throats. Grate red beetroot, squeeze out a glass of juice, add 1 tsp of oṭet and 1 tbsp of lime honey. With this soluṭion rinse the throat 6 times a day, and drink a sip. In Russian folk medicine, raw beetroot juice is used because it treats chronic tonsillitis. Specialists say that beetroot has the power to cure pneumonia, pleurisy.