Beet root health benefits
- The recent interest in beetroot has been primarily driven by the discovery that sources of dietary nitrate may have important implications for managing cardiovascular health .
- However, beetroot is rich in several other bioactive compounds that may provide health benefits, particularly for disorders characterised by chronic inflammation.
- Consequently, the potential role for beetroot as an adjunct treatment in several clinical conditions will be presented; Specifically, evaluate its use as a nutritional intervention in health and disease, with a special emphasis on experimental studies relating to oxidative stress, inflammation, endothelial function and cognition.
- Recent studies have provided compelling evidence that beetroot ingestion offers beneficial physiological effects that may translate to improved clinical outcomes for several pathologies, such as; hypertension, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes and dementia
- Hypertension in particular has been the target of many therapeutic interventions and there are numerous studies that show beetroot, delivered acutely as a juice supplement or in bread.significantly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. beetroot’s anti-hypertensive potential is summarised in several studies.
- Beetroot’s effect on the vasculature is largely attributed to its high inorganic nitrate content (250 mg∙kg−1 of fresh weight
- Nitrate itself is not considered to mediate any specific physiological function; rather, nitrates beneficial effects are attributed to its in vivo reduction to nitric oxide (NO), a multifarious messenger molecule with important vascular and metabolic functions .
- The generation of NO via nitrate involves a series of sequential steps that have been well described in the literature . Briefly, ingested nitrate is first absorbed through the upper part of the small intestine into the systemic circulation
- It is then estimated that 25% of the circulating nitrate enters the entero-salivary cycle where bacterial species located at the posterior aspect of the tongue bioactivate or reduce salivary nitrate to nitrite . Because salivary bacteria facilitate the reduction reaction that converts nitrate to nitrite, spitting out saliva or taking oral anti-bacterial treatments, like dental mouthwash for example, has been shown to diminish nitrate-nitrite conversion Under normal circumstances, however, salivary nitrite is re-absorbed into the circulation via the stomach where it is metabolised to NO and other nitrogen oxides by a variety of reductase enzymes.
- Beetroot is a rich source of phytochemical compounds , that includes ascorbic acid, carotenoids, phenolic acids and flavonoids .
- Beetroot is also one of the few vegetables that contain a group of highly bioactive pigments known as betalains
- Members of the betalain family are categorised as either betacyanin pigments that are red-violet in colour or betaxanthin pigments that are yellow-orange in colour A number of investigations have reported
- betalains to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities in vitro and a variety of in vivo animal models . This has sparked interest in a possible role for beetroot in clinical pathologies characterised by oxidative stress and chronic inflammation such as liver disease, arthritis and even cancer
- Beetroot contains several highly bioactive phenolics, such as rutin, epicatechin and caffeic acid which are also known to be excellent antioxidants.
Nutritional value of fresh beetroots per 100 g:
| Constituents || Amount || Constituents ||Amount |
|Carbohydrates ||9.96 g ||Vitamin B6 || 0.067 mg |
|Sugars ||7.96 g || Folate (Vit. B9) ||80 µg |
|Dietry fiber ||2.0 g ||Vitamin C || 3.6 mg |
|Fat || 0.18 g || Calcium ||16 mg |
|Protein ||1.68 g ||Iron || 0.79 mg |
|Vitamin A equiv. ||2 µg ||Magnesium || 23 mg |
|Thiamine (Vit. B1) ||0.031 mg ||Phosphorus || 38 mg |
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2) ||0.027 mg || Potassium || 305 mg |
|Niacin (Vit. B3) || 0.331 mg || Zinc ||0.35 mg |
|Pantothemic acid (B5) ||0.145 mg || Sodium || 0.14mg |
Uses of beetroot
- Young leaves of the garden beet are sometimes used for eating. The midribs of Swiss chard are eaten boiled while the whole leaf blades are eaten as spinach beet. In some parts of Africa, the whole leaf blades are usually prepared with the major as one dish (Grubben et al., 2004).
- The leaves and stems of young plants are steamed briefly and eaten as a vegetable, older leaves and stems are stir-fried. The usually deep-red roots of garden beet are eaten boiled either as a cooked vegetable or cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar
- A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into boiled and sterilized beets or into pickles. In Eastern Europe beet soup, such as cold soup, is a popular dish.
- Yellowcoloured garden beets are grown on a very small scale for home consumption. Beetroot can be peeled, steamed, and then eaten warm with butter as a delicacy; cooked, pickled, and then eaten cold as a condiment; or peeled, shredded raw, and then eaten as a salad.
- Pickled beets are a traditional food of the American South. Beetroot pigment is used commercially as a food dye. It changes colour when heated so can only be used in ice-cream, sweets and other confectionary, but it is both cheap and has noknown allergic side-effects.
- Beetroot itself, of course, is a common salad ingredient – when cooked, vinegar is added to the water to lower the pH. Beetroot juice is very potent, and it’s recommended that you drink the raw juice diluted at least 4 times with other milder juices such as carrot, cucumber.
- Plus it tastes better, a beautiful rich ruby red colour it is known to help purify the blood. There are nine other species in the Beta genus and all also have the common name beet, although Beta vulgaris is the most well-known and commercially important and is known as the common beet (NRCS, 2006).
- Beets, with large leaves, are also grown as ornamental plants. Ecologically, they provide food for many animals, including the larvae of a number of pest species. Beets are delightful for their color and flavor as well as for their beet nutrition.
- Their juice is wonderful mixed with carrot juice and can also be used as a dye. In some countries the beet juice, betanin, is processed commercially for coloration in various product