|Beetroot and Its Nutritious Juice|
A 2009 study by the British University of Exeter found that drinking beetroot juice boosts stamina by up to 16%. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, suggests that the high levels of nitrate in beetroot reduces the uptake of oxygen during exercise, making it less tiring. Research published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension showed that drinking beetroot juice reduced blood pressure within one hour for up to 24 hours. Several studies have also attributed anti inflammatory properties to beetroot and it has proved effective against cancers during in vitro testing. It may also help in the battle against obesity. Add to these remarkable properties the high levels of folate, antioxidants and vitamins in the humble purple root and you start to understand why it is hailed as a super food.
A 100 g (3.5 oz) serving of the cooked root supplies 20% of the RDI of folate (folic acid). This makes it a useful food for pregnant women who need to consume folic acid to reduce the risk of spina bifida. Beetroot is also rich in magnesium (6% RDI) and vitamin C (6% RDI). Beetroot also contains several B vitamins and potassium (6% RDI), phosphorus (5% RDI) and zinc.
Beetroot also contains the bioactive red pigment betaine, an anthocyanin that is thought to reduce homocysteine levels. High levels of homocysteine are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns that
"scientists don't yet know whether homocysteine has a directly harmful effect on arteries or is just a risk factor. Although studies show positive results, they have been small and limited".
Beetroot is relatively rich in sugars but is low in calories and very high in fiber. A 100 g (3.5 oz) serving provides 2 grams of dietary fiber but only 43 kcal. Seven slices of beetroot or three whole baby beets count as one of your five daily portions of fruit and veg.
The health benefits of beetroot have popular knowledge for a long time; the ancient Roman's so valued its restorative powers that surviving frescos from the brothels Pompeii contain images of beetroot. It may owe its aphrodisiac qualities to high levels of boron; an essential mineral for the production of human sex hormones.
It is not only the roots of the beet plants that are healthy. Beet greens are also edible and nutritious. A raw serving contains high levels of vitamin C (19% RDI), vitamin A (48% RDI) and vitamin K (190% RDI).
Beetroot may make your urine go pink (a harmless side effect of the red pigments it contains) and it is not one of Barak Obama's favorite foods (according to the New York Times) but it isn't half good for you!
RDI: Recommended Daily Intake
SUPERFOOD RATING: 8/10