Heart health benefits of Beetroot
Have you ever noticed how beetroots share an uncanny resemblance to the heart? With its shape, red coloured flesh and veiny leaves, beets don’t only look like hearts, but they also harness many nutrients needed for cardiovascular wellbeing and is considered the number one vegetable for heart health (1).
This superfood veggie has been used for medicinal purposes by ancient cultures for many centuries. It is said that Hippocrates (460-370 BC) recommended beetroot juice for blood cleansing and digestive health, Aristotle (384-322 BC) taught his students about beetroot and it is said that Aphrodite even used the beet to harness her romantic power. (1)
Veggie juice might not necessarily guarantee a romance boost in a relationship, but it can definitely help with the physical health of your blood and heart.
The nutrient compounds in raw, but correctly extracted beetroot juice, are highly concentrated. It is rich in antioxidants that protect cells from oxidative damage, it’s a source of betaine, polyphenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, saponins and pigments betalains(6). It also contains vitamin A, B, C and K1(1), is rich in folic acid, naturally occurring nitrates and helps the absorption of iron.
The added benefit of drinking beetroot juice is that it helps your body absorb the vitamins and minerals in a rapid and highly concentrated form, making it bioavailable.
Many of the ancient beliefs surrounding the value of the beetroot have been verified by modern research. One of these is that nitrate, a compound found among beets and other foods, dramatically increases the amount of blood and oxygen reaching the brain, which keeps blood vessels dilated. Regular beetroot juice consumption has been directly linked to heart-health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, boosting athletic performance and better recuperation, and reducing inflammation in the body. (2, 3)
Beetroot has been regarded by ancient cultures as a medicinal food and the properties of beetroot were believed to be so powerful that ancient Romans used it as a primitive libido stimulant. The mineral Boron is found in beetroot which is linked to the production of sex hormones. As well as nitric oxide, found in beetroot, has been proven to increase blood flow, helping to kick-start your sex drive and increase stamina.
Scientifically speaking, there are several reasons for this:
- Nitrates in beetroot promote blood flow and oxygen to the genital region of the body;
- Potassium enhances muscle movement and promotes cardiovascular health;
- Antioxidants fend off disease that contribute to a low libido and increase overall stamina;
- Betanin improves aerobic activity by heightening endurance.(4)
- Blood purifier – Due to beetroot’s effect on increasing blood flow, it acts as a blood purifier. (1)
- Skin & hair health – As well as it being a rich source of Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium(1) and carotenoids (precursor to vitamin A or retinol), which helps to reduce skin blemishes, promote dermal repair and healthy hair growth.
- Gut health – Whole cooked beetroot is high in fiber which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system(1).
- Anti-inflammatory – Betalains, such as betanins in beetroot extracts have exceptional anti-inflammatory properties. (6)
- Cognition – Nitrates stimulate the frontal cortex of the brain by increasing cerebrovascular blood flow to that region (5)
- Anti-cancer – may also prevent cancer through its anti-inflammatory and radical scavenging activity. (5) There is also considerable research confirming its assistance to the body in preventing cancerous growth. (1)
Drinking beetroot juice, either straight-up, in a healthy smoothie or dish, essentially helps to purify the bloodstream and improve cardiovascular health. Love your own heart by adding this superfood to your daily diet.
- Nicholas Barbieri, 2019, The Number One Vegetable For Heart Health Is Basically A Heart – The Beetroot. Accessed 27/01/2021. https://notamonk.com/a-veggie-with-a-heartbeet/
- Asunta Simoloka and Prof Rashid Bhikha, 2016, Beets health benefits. Accessed 27/01/2021. https://tibb.co.za/articles/beets-health-benefits.pdf
- Dr J Clin Pharmacol, 2013, Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate‐nitrite‐nitric oxide pathway. Mar; 75(3): 677–696. Published online 05/02/2013. Accessed 27/01/2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575935/
- Nathan S. Bryan, PhD Carolyn Pierini CLS (ASCP), CNC. 2013, Beet the Odds, Harness the Power of Beets to Radically Transform Your Health. Accessed 27/01/2021. https://www.humann.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Beet-the-Odds-Chapters-1-3.pdf
- Nutrients (journals). Accessed 27/01/2021. https://www.mdpi.com/journal/nutrients
- John F. Lechner and Gary D. Stoner, 2019, Red Beetroot and Betalains as Cancer Chemopreventative Agents. Accessed 27/01/2021. https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/24/8/1602/pdf