Top Benefits of Beets to our Heart (and our Body)

beetroot

Beetroots are a root vegetable which is packed with essential vitamins, minerals and compounds which is known around the world.  They are a popular vegetable not just because it is used in many different cuisines, but also because of its health benefits.

Nutritional Content

Before we discuss the health benefits of beets, it is necessary to know the nutritional content of beetroot.  Here is the list of the nutrients that can be found in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked beetroot:

  •       Calories: 44
  •       Phosphorous: 4% of the RDI
  •       Iron: 4% of the RDI
  •       Vitamin C: 6% of the RDI
  •       Protein: 1.7 grams
  •       Fat: 0.2 grams
  •       Fiber: 2 grams
  •       Potassium: 9% of the RDI
  •       Folate: 20% of the RDI
  •       Vitamin B6: 3% of the RDI
  •       Magnesium: 6% of the RDI
  •       Manganese: 16% of the RDI

Beets and Its Link to Patients with Heart Problems

A recent study was conducted with beets, and healthy men and women were the subjects.  The findings of the study pointed to the link of beetroot juice to the patient’s blood pressure.  It was found that the blood pressure of the patients decreased and it helped improve their quality of life.

Unhealthy levels of blood pressure can result in heart failure as it prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the different parts of the body.  Patients who have low blood flow are not able to exercise. But, for some of these patients, they will benefit from good exercise.

The ingredient that makes beetroot juice beneficial to patients with blood pressure problems is nitrate.  Beetroots are considered the richest source of this compound.  Nitrate helps improve the blood flow and therefore resulting in a healthy heart. Having a healthy level of blood pressure can allow the patients to maintain an exercise routine.

The study was conducted using samples of patients with high blood pressure history and has a very low amount of exercise.  The study lasted for four weeks. There were 20 patients subjected to the study. All of the patients were made to drink beetroot juice.  They were then observed as they did exercise routines.

Nitrates and Blood Flow

Nitrates are known to lower blood pressure.  This was found out in another study that was conducted.  The study involved 17 participants who took turn taking a daily nitrate supplement.  They were given 150 to 250 grams of a vegetable rich in nitrate including beetroot. They continued eating the vegetables for three days.

The particular study on nitrate’s effect on blood flow resulted in the conclusion that nitrate can indeed help lower blood pressure.  This result was recommended to be subjected to more studies.

Other Benefits of Beetroots

Given the nutrition contained by beetroots, it also brings benefits that can improve your health.  Here are some of the important health benefits of beetroots aside from improved blood flow:

1. Helps improve athletic performance.

Beets can often be found in many athlete’s diets.  A few studies have been done and suggested that nitrates may improve their performance.  Nitrates are observed to help facilitate the production of energy by helping the mitochondria function healthily.  The study was done with participants consuming 17 ounces of beet juice every day and was able to extend their exercise by 15-25%.  This improvement in their workout resulted in overall performance.

In cyclists, eating beets was found to increase oxygen use.  A study was conducted involving cyclists as participants. They were given 17 ounces of beetroot juice.  This resulted to increase performance based on the time they clocked.

It was also found that a person’s blood nitrate level tends to peak within the two to three-hour mark.  With this finding, it was recommended that the best time to consume beets is two to three hours before you train or compete.

2. Contains properties that may help avoid inflammation

Inflammation is oftentimes connected to a number of harmful diseases, including heart disease, obesity, liver disease, and cancer.  Beets are found to contain a pigment called betalains which may help combat inflammation. Studies have been conducted about this but have only been done with rats as test subjects.

3. Assists in maintaining a healthy digestive system

A healthy diet must contain dietary fiber.  Beets are a good source of fiber. In fact, one cup of beetroots contains 3.4 grams of fiber.  With enough fiber, digestive conditions such as constipation and other bowel diseases may be prevented.  Fiber is also connected to a decrease in the risk of chronic diseases such as colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  Consuming beets is great way overall to rehab the body.

4. Help keep the brain healthy

When the brain is not getting enough oxygen and when blood flow is reduced, the brain might be at risk of mental and cognitive decline.  This happens especially because of aging. Beets promote the dilation of our blood vessels resulting in healthy blood flow to the brain and oxygen along with it.

Studies have shown that beets have specifically improved the blood flow of the frontal lobe of the brain, this is the same area that is connected to brain activity that involves higher-level thinking, including decision making, and memory.

5. Aids in weight loss

Because Beets contain a long list of nutritional properties, they are beneficial for people who want to lose weight.  They contain low-calorie food which is essential to keeping your weight in check.  Beets also contain protein which is also an important nutrient if you want to keep a healthy weight.

Fiber which beets also contain, may also help reduce instances of snacking.  There is no specific study that directly found the link of weight loss with beets, but the number of nutrients that it contains can be of great help if you want a healthy and weight-friendly diet.

Final Thoughts

Overall, beets are definitely beneficial not just in maintaining a healthy heart but also in other parts of the body.  They are a helpful vegetable for patients with heart problems to help them cope with exercise routines. They are also an important ingredient of a healthy diet with the amount of fiber that it contains.  And best of all, it also helps that beets are delicious.

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