Beet is a root vegetable, also known as beetroot and its benefits don’t need to be overlooked. Sometimes beetroot is called red beet, garden beet or simply “beet”.
Fresh beetroot is a bright vegetable containing many dietary fibers and useful nutrients: vitamins B9 and C, potassium, manganese and iron.
Beets and juice, squeezed from beets, have various beneficial properties for the body, including improving blood circulation, reducing blood pressure, as well as increasing the ability to prolonged physical exertion.
Many of these health benefits are due to the high content of inorganic nitrates in beets, which were previously considered harmful, but now the position of scientists has changed to their account.
Beets can be eaten raw, but most often it is boiled or marinated. Beet leaves can also be eaten and used to prepare delicious dishes. Sometimes beet leaves are compared in taste and culinary properties with spinach .
There are many different types of beets, which differ mainly in the color of their skin: white, yellow, pink, raspberry or purple.
In the article we will take a closer look at the nutritional value of this vegetable, as well as the beneficial properties of beets for the human body.
Nutritional value of beets
The main ingredients of beets are water. It takes about 88% of the density of the vegetable. 8% are carbohydrates, 2% -3% – dietary fiber.
In one standard portion of cooked beets 150 gr. contains less than 65 calories.
Below is detailed information about the nutritional value of beets and all its nutrients contained in 100 gr. raw product.
Caloric content : 43 kcal
Water : 88%
Protein : 1.6 g.
Carbohydrates : 9.6 grams.
Sugar : 6.8 grams.
Cellulose : 2,8 gr.
Fat : 0.2 gr.
Saturated Fat : 0.03 gr.
Monounsaturated fats : 0.03 gr.
Polyunsaturated fats: 0.06 g.
Omega-3 fatty acids s: 0.01 g.
Omega-6 fatty acids : 0.06 gr.
Potassium – 325 mg.
Sodium – 78 mg.
Phosphorus – 40 mg.
Magnesium – 23 mg.
Calcium – 16 mg.
Iron – 0.8 mg.
Zinc – 0.35 mg.
Vitamin C – 4.9 mg.
Thiamine – 0.031 mg.
Riboflafin – 0,040 mg.
Niacin – 0.334 mg.
Vitamin B6 – 0.067 mg
Carbohydrates in beets
Carbohydrates in beets make up only 10% of its composition. Beet carbohydrates are glucose and fructose, that is, simple sugars. Moreover, in raw beets it is 70% of simple sugars, and 80% in cooked a little more.
In addition to simple sugars, beet contains short-chain carbohydrates, they are also called fructans or FODMAP substances. Some people’s bodies are unable to digest these FODMAP substances, which can cause them to have unpleasant symptoms of digestion.
The glycemic index of beets is 61. This value is considered average. The glycemic index shows how quickly blood sugar levels rise after a meal. However, there is another, more modern indicator – glycemic load. This indicator also takes into account the amount of carbohydrates in the composition of products, and not just the product itself. Glycemic load of beets is 5 – a fairly low level. This means that the consumption of beets does not have a harmful effect on the level of sugar in the blood, since the total amount of carbohydrates per serving is rather low.
Dietary fiber (fiber) in beets
Beets contain a large amount of dietary fiber, about 2-3 grams per serving of 100 grams.
Dietary fiber matters as part of a healthy diet and it has been proven that consuming it reduces the risk of various diseases.
Carbohydrate carbohydrates are glucose and fructose (simple sugars). Beets also contain FODMAP carbohydrates, which can harm digestion in some people. In addition to carbohydrates, beets are rich in fiber.
Beet Vitamins and Minerals
Beets are an excellent source of many important vitamins and minerals. The beneficial properties of beets for the body is largely due to the presence of these nutrients:
Folic acid : a vitamin B group, namely B9, is important for the normal growth of body tissues and cell function. Especially necessary for women in anticipation of the child.
Manganese : a significant trace element that can be found in large quantities in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, as well as northern blueberries and blueberries.
Potassium : A diet rich in foods with a good potassium content will help avoid hypertension and regulate blood pressure. In general, potassium is a very useful element for the entire cardiovascular system.
Iron : a mineral that has many important roles in the body. Especially important for blood formation. Iron is necessary for the transfer of oxygen in red blood cells – red blood cells.
Vitamin C: A well-known antioxidant that can support the body’s immune system and affect skin health by stimulating the synthesis of collagen and elastin.
Beets are rich in vitamin-mineral complex, which includes vitamins C and B9, as well as minerals potassium, sodium, iron, manganese and others.
Other vegetable compounds in beets
Vegetable compounds are natural elements, some of which have a beneficial effect on human health.
The main vegetable compounds in beets:
Betanin : a substance that creates the color of the peel and beet pulp, providing its bright pink hue. Betanin in beets has various beneficial for the body, including anti-radiation and antitumor. It is also called “beet red” or E162.
Inorganic nitrate : found in generous quantities in green leafy vegetables, beets and beetroot juice. In humans, nitrate is converted to nitric oxide, which is then involved in many processes in the human body.
Vulgaxanthin : a coloring agent that provides the color of a red or yellow beet. It has an antioxidant effect and protects the cells of the body from oxidation.
Beet contains several useful plant compounds, especially betanin, Vulgaxanthin and inorganic nitrates.
Inorganic nitrates are of three types: nitrates, nitrites and nitrous oxide. Beetroot and beetroot juice contain an exceptional amount of nitrates.
Several decades ago, nitrates were considered a harmful component. Many scientists argued about the usefulness of these compounds for the human body. Some still believe that nitrates are harmful and cause cancer, while others believe that the risk is too high.
Most inorganic nitrates (80% -95%) come from fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, nitrites are contained in food additives, processed meat products, bakery products and cereals.
Studies show that the diet, which includes foods containing nitrates and nitrites, can have a positive effect on health, namely the regulation of blood pressure levels. In addition, this diet reduces the risk of many diseases.
Inorganic nitrates, which come from beets, are converted into a biological transport molecule – nitric oxide. Nitric oxide passes through the walls of the artery and sends a signal to the tiny muscle cells around the arteries to make them more relaxed, thus adjusting the tone of the vessels. When these tiny muscle cells lose tension, the blood vessels dilate and blood pressure drops.
Other products that also contain a certain amount of inorganic nitrates:
- White cabbage
- cucumbers and tomatoes
- bell pepper
Beets contain a large amount of inorganic nitrates, which have a useful property to regulate the vascular tone of the body and reduce blood pressure.
The main beneficial properties of beets for the body
Beetroot and beetroot juice have many health benefits, especially for heart health and a person’s overall physical condition.
Beet reduces pressure
Hypertension is a condition characterized by excessively high blood pressure, which is dangerous by potential damage to the heart and blood vessels. Persistent symptoms of high blood pressure can be a serious risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and death from them. This risk can reduce good nutrition, which will include foods that contain large amounts of inorganic nitrates. This will help to establish an optimal level of blood pressure and increase the formation of nitric oxide in the body.
Studies have shown that beets or beetroot can lower blood pressure to 10 mm per hour in a few hours.
Scientists explain this beneficial property of beets for the body by increasing the level of nitric oxide, a molecule that causes blood vessels to relax and expand.
Beets are useful for hypertensive patients, as it can lower blood pressure, which will reduce the risk of heart and a number of other diseases.
Increase the effectiveness of sports
Repeated studies have shown that nitrates affect the body during physical activity. They are able to increase physical performance, especially during high-intensity strength and endurance exercises.
Nitrates have been found to reduce the amount of oxygen consumption by cells during exercise. Nitrates affect mitochondria – cellular particles responsible for energy production. Beets (or beet juice) are often used for this purpose because of their high content of inorganic nitrate.
The use of beets can improve the results of aerobic exercise: cross-country and cycling training, increase the body’s endurance, improve the use of oxygen by the cells and lead to an increase in the effectiveness of sports in general.
The use of beets can optimize the use of oxygen by the cells of the body, which will increase endurance and lead to an increase in the efficiency of exercise.
Contraindications and side effects of eating beets
Usually beets are well tolerated by most people. However, there are some contraindications for eating beets:
1. Beets are not recommended for people who are prone to the formation of kidney stones. Beets can contain high levels of oxalate, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
Oxalates can also have anti-nutritional properties. This means that they can interfere with the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Oxalate levels are significantly higher in beet leaves than in root vegetables, but the vegetable itself also contains a certain amount of oxalates.
2. Contraindication for eating beets is the presence of irritable bowel syndrome and other chronic or acute intestinal disorders.
Beets contain carbohydrates FODMAPs in the form of fructans. They are short-chain carbohydrates, which feed on intestinal bacteria. FODMAP substances can cause unpleasant digestive disorders in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Drinking beets can also cause the urine to become pink or red, which is an absolutely harmless side effect, although many people are often frightened.
Beets are usually well tolerated, but they contain oxalates and FODMAP carbohydrates, which can cause problems in some people.
Beetroot is a bright and juicy vegetable containing a certain amount of nutrients, fiber and plant compounds that can enhance human health.
The beneficial properties of beets for the body include: improving the health of the cardiovascular and circulatory system, increasing physical performance, which are caused by the content of inorganic nitrates in vegetables.
Beet has a rather sweet taste, and is well used as a main ingredient in salads. Beets are easy to prepare, you can even eat raw. Beetroot is an excellent product for a balanced and healthy diet.