Most beetroot on sale is round and red, but yellow, white and stripey versions are available.
The beetroot taste is described as sweet, earthy and tender to eat once cooked or pickled. It’s a root vegetable related to turnips, swedes and sugar beet.
1. Blood pressure
Beetroot is a great source of nitrates, which when consumed, is converted to nitrites and a gas called nitric oxides. Both these components help to widen the arteries and lower blood pressure. Researchers also found that having just about 500 grams (2 glasses) of beetroot every day reduces a person’s blood pressure in about six hours.
Some blood pressure medicine are using this principal to lower patients' blood pressure. If you are taking blood pressure pills, be sure to let your doctor know as beetroot juice and bp medicine may lower your blood pressure to a very dangerous low level.
Athletes since 2009 (that is when it was discovered) have been drinking beetroot juice to enhance their performances. As more blood flows and carries more oxygen, the athletes' performances are enhanced and it takes a longer time before they are exhausted.
Beetroot contains flavonoids called anthocyanins that can help with recovery from the stress of exercise during training and competition.
3. Sexual health
Nitrites and nitric oxides gas from nitrates in beetroots help to widen the blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the genitals, a function Viagra pills replicate.
Another factor is that beetroot contains a lot of boron, a chemical compound that is important for the production of the human sex hormone. So the next time, ditch the blue pill and have some beetroot juice instead.
4. Brain and dementia
Studies have shown drinking beetroot juice increases blood flow to the brain for a short while in older people. Maintaining good blood circulation to the brain is associated with a reduced risk of vascular dementia, one of the main causes of dementia.
[You may want to read Do you want a 'younger' brain? Drink beetroot juice.]
High nitrates in other vegetables
The following vegetables also contain a high level of nitrates. If you do not like to have red urine or poo, you may want to eat:
- Chinese cabbage