Superfoods to Eat: Benefits of Beetroot
Beetroot, or Beta vulgaris, is a root vegetable packed with minerals and vitamins such as iron and vitamin C. Beetroots were first cultivated in the ancient Middle East due to the large benefits which it brings. They were popularly used as a treatment for numerous ailments regarding digestion and blood. This medicinal use of beetroots does not come as a surprise. A single beetroot delivers 22% of the daily value of folate, 9% of the daily value of fibre and 8% of the daily value of potassium. Today, modern research has revealed that there are many health benefits of beetroot, as they bring about a plethora of benefits not only to your skin but to your hair as well.
Benefits of Beetroot
Packed with calcium, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, proteins, and phosphorus, beetroots naturally support healthy hair growth by stimulating hair follicles. For instance, potassium, another natural element found in beetroots, tightens the pores in your scalp, preventing hair loss.
The rich amount of betalains give rise to the characteristic deep red pigment traditionally found in beetroots. High in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory capabilities, these betalains aid in blood circulation in the scalp and nourish hair follicles from within.
Besides betalains, beetroots also contain several highly bioactive chemical compounds such as rutin, epicatechin and caffeic acid which are excellent antioxidants.
Antioxidants are crucial in achieving healthy hair growth as they help maintain collagen in the body and connective tissues of hair follicles. They protect the scalp cells in the blood vessels to ensure healthy hair growth, giving your hair a natural and healthy shine.
Beetroot juice acts as a powerful blood purifier, which is key in keeping your skin glowing and healthy. The high content of antioxidants in beetroots also serves to repair broken skin and correct any visible damages. Betalains found in beetroots are well known to be powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Betalains act as a suppressor and suppress inflammatory signals, helping to clear blemishes and reduce swelling and redness of acne.
Vitamin C is another antioxidant that is found abundantly in beetroots. It not only prevents hyperpigmentation by decreasing melanin formation but also helps to clear acne, ensuring clear and smooth skin. Anti-ageing functionalities contained in Vitamin C also helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. This ability is due to the role of Vitamin C in collagen synthesis and its ability to repair dry and aged skin, giving the skin a healthy and youthful glow.
Beetroots contain many vitamins and minerals:
- Folate (vitamin B9): Important for normal tissue growth and cell function.
- Manganese: found in high amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
- Potassium: Can lead to reduced blood pressure levels and positive effects on heart health
- Iron: Necessary for the transport of oxygen in red blood cells.
- Vitamin C: An antioxidant that is important for immune function and skin health.
Besides the multitude of benefits to your skin and hair, the abundance of vitamins and minerals in beetroots also provides many health benefits.
Improves cardiovascular health
Some of the health value of beetroots may be due to the fact that they are rich in dietary nitrates. Our body converts these nitrates into nitric oxide (NO), a molecule that impacts many aspects of health. For example, NO is vital in maintaining endothelial function. The endothelium is a thin membrane that lines the inside of your heart and blood vessels while endothelium cells control the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels. NO as a nutritional method to preserve or even to restore the endothelium function is currently extensively studied by experts. Thus, maintaining a healthy amount of NO in the body is able to lower blood pressure and manage cardiovascular diseases.
Improves cognitive abilities
Dietary nitrate is able to improve cognitive functions. A recent study revealed that high concentrations of nitrates stimulate an increase in performance of the region of the brain involved in vital cognitive processes such as executive function, working memory and task-switching. In just a single serving of beetroot juice (500ml), an increase in blood flow to the cerebral is observed, optimizing cognitive functions, allowing your brain to function more powerfully.
Best ways to serve it
Not only are there many health benefits of beetroot, they are also incredibly delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet. Here are a couple of ways you can use beetroots to colour your everyday menu.
- Salad: Grated beetroots give salads a dash of additional flavour and colour.
- Dip: Blend beetroots with Greek yoghurt to make a delicious and healthy dip.
- Juice: Freshly homemade beetroot juice is ideal. Store-bought ones can be high in added sugars, preservatives and contain fewer beetroots.
- Leaves: You can also cook and enjoy beetroot leaves, so don’t throw them out!