Benefits And Nutrition Of Beet (Beta Vulgaris) For Health

Benefits And Nutrition Of Beet (Beta Vulgaris) For Health

Beet (Beta Vulgaris)

Scientific Name(s): Beta vulgaris L.

Beet (Beta Vulgaris) is knows as other names: Beet Greens, Beet Juice, Beetroot, Beta vulgaris, Betarraga, Beets, Betterave, Betterave à Sucre, Betterave Jaune, Betterave Rouge, Betteraves, Fodder Beet, Garden Beet, Green Beet, Mangel, Mangold, Red Beet, Remolacha, Scandinavian Beet, Sugarb...

Beets are highly nutritious and “cardiovascular health” friendly root vegetables. Certain unique pigment antioxidants in this root as well as in its top-greens have found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke; lower cholesterol levels within the body, and have anti-aging effects.

All cultivated varieties fall into the subspecies Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris. Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima, commonly known as the sea beet, is the wild ancestor of these and is found throughout the Mediterranean, the Atlantic coast of Europe, the Near East, and India. A second wild subspecies, Beta vulgaris subsp. adanensis, occurs from Greece to Syria.

Benefits And Nutrition Of Beet (Beta Vulgaris) For Health
Beet (Beta Vulgaris) Picture

Beets are small herbaceous plants with broad dark-green leaves. Its underground taproot matures in 50-60 days of sowing and weighs about 100 to 150 g. The leaves are glabrous, oval to heart-shaped, 5-20 cm long on wild plants and much larger in cultivated plants, dark green or red. The flowers are small and numerous, produced in dense spikes,  3-5 mm in diameter, green or tinged reddish, with five petals. Flowering usually occurs from June until September. The fruit forms a cluster of hard nut lets. Roots are swollen, globular or cylindrical, deep red color.

Different cultivars exist; red, orange-yellow and white verities. The unique crimson-red color of red beet is due to betalain pigments, such as betanin and betacyanin. Yellow varieties are rich in ß-xanthin pigment. The root and its top tender greens have been in use for human consumption. Choggia beet or candy cane variety has alternative red and white concentric whorls.

Beets are very high in Vitamin C, folate, soluble and insoluble fiber, and antioxidants. The glycine betaine within the vegetable are considered to be valuable for cardiovascular health.  It's been suggested that betanin in beets may protect against oxidative stress.  Beet was once used by the ancient Romans to treat fevers and constipation. If that doesn't completely sell this jewel of a veggie, the juice is also considered to be an aphrodisiac and contains more sugar than either carrots or sweet corn.

Nutrition Of Beet (Beta Vulgaris) For Health

Beets (Beta Vulgaris) are low in calories (about 45 kcal per 100 g) and have zero cholesterol and a minute amount of fat. Nutrition comes from the beets' vitamins, minerals, and unique plant-derived anti-oxidants.

A phytochemical compound, glycine betaine, is found in the root. Betaine lowers the chance of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and peripheral vascular diseases. Beets in raw form are high in folates. Folates are essential in the synthesis of DNA within cells. Vitamin-C is found in small amounts.

The root provides B-complex vitamins including niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), and pyridoxine (B-6), and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium, lowers the heart rate and regulates metabolism in the cells.

Beet greens contain vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants, and vitamin-A.

Benefits And Nutrition Of Beet (Beta Vulgaris) For Health
Beet (Beta Vulgaris) Picture

Benefits Of Beet (Beta Vulgaris) For Health

Nutrition benefits of Beet (Beta Vulgaris) come particularly from fiber, vitamins, minerals, and unique plant derived anti-oxidants.

Packed with Antioxidants

Substantial amount of antioxidants is another health purpose of eating beets. The vegetable contains an abundance of carotenoids, healing flavonoids, vitamin A and vitamin C. They are powerful antioxidants which help your body in anti-aging, boost your immune system and help your body to fight against cancer. Consumption of natural vegetables rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

Good for the Heart

Beets contain a compound known as Glycine betaine, which has health effects on your heart. The compound helps reduce the homocysteine levels in your body. The vegetable is also a good source of dietary fiber, which assists in getting rid of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Potassium, an essential mineral that is found abundantly in beetroot is effective in regulating heart rate. All these lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease such as peripheral vascular diseases, stroke and coronary heart disease.

Aid Bowel Movements

Beets and bowel movements are closely related. The nutrient-rich vegetable is loaded with dietary fiber, which promotes better bowel movement and is useful in curing constipation.

Beneficial to Liver Health

One of the most important merits of beets is the cleansing effect on the liver. They help improve liver functions. Beet juice is also capable of combating fatty liver disease as it is full of betaine, a substance that contributes to the color of beets.

Prevent Birth Defects

The health fact that raw beets are enriched with folate makes them a great food for pregnant women. Beets provide you with 109 mcg of folate in every 100 g of the vegetable. Folates are necessary for DNA synthesis within the cells. When given during peri-conception period folates can prevent neural tube defects in the baby.

Other Health Properties of Beets

Ancient Romans used Beet root as a treatment for fevers and as a laxative. They also introduced Beet root juice as a strong aphrodisiac. From the Middle Ages, Beet root was used as a treatment for illnesses relating to digestive and vascular system. For centuries, the root of Red Beet is used in Europe as a protection against oxidative stress, due to its pigment molecule, betanin.

The root of beets was used to as a natural remedy to relieve indigestion and to treat fever. Boron that is found in the vegetable is said to stimulate production of sex hormones. 

Further, the root compose of moderate levels of potassium. Potassium lowers heart rate and regulates metabolism inside the cells by countering detrimental effects of sodium.

Beet juice is also an old folk medicine for anemia. In the old days, Beet juice was recommended for anemia and yellow jaundice and, applied into the nostrils it helped clear ringing ears, and soothe toothache. Beet juice in vinegar was also used against dandruff and in prevention of hair loss. Juice of the white beet was said to clear obstructions of the liver and spleen.