The chances of beets being on your regular shopping list are very slim. While we are being flooded with information on the benefits of various exotic superfoods, seasonal root vegetables should not escape our attention.
When it comes to health benefits, beetroot certainly has the upper hand next to many premium products and trendy supplements. There is a reason ancient Persians and Assyrians considered it a medicinal plant. Its healing qualities have long been recognised by the likes of Hippocrates, Cicero and Avicenna. So what is actually known to us about this root vegetable today and what does modern science have to say?
1/ Digestive benefits
Ancient Romans used beetroot to address digestive concerns. And rightly so! Due to its high amounts of fibre (around 3,81 g per glass), it has known benefits for digestion and our overall gastrointestinal health. According to the research by the United States Department of Agriculture, 180 g of beets can contain up to 8,81% of our daily recommended fibre intake.
2/ Rich in betalains
Betalains are a class of red pigments which give beetroot its vivid purplish red colour. It is known for its ability to slow down carcinogenesis: the formation of cancerous mutations in the body’s cells. According to the 2019 studies carried out by the Montana University’s department of microbiology and immunology, this substance is responsible for reducing inflammation and the levels of oxidising stress.
Although it would be premature to claim that frequent beetroot consumption could rule out the development of cancers, it remains a cancer-fighting food worthy of our consideration.
3/ Improves workout stamina
Multiple clinical studies have demonstrated that beetroot consumption helps to fill muscles with oxygen and improve stamina. A 2019 study by Denmark’s Aalborg University has shown that cyclists consuming beetroot juice prior to contests performed better and demonstrated improved results.
This is due to the dietary nitrates contained in beetroots, which in contact with saliva transform into nitrogen oxide. The latter is responsible for bringing more oxygen to our muscles. For those looking to improve their results in active workouts, it should be noted that beetroot typically takes 30-40 minutes after consumption to kick in. However, a regular intake of beets will bring about a cumulative effect, helping improve your stamina overall.
4/ Benefits for anaemia
According to WHO, around a third of the world’s population suffers from anaemia. It is also especially prevalent among women. While its effects can often be barely noticeable with no need for iron supplementation, even the mildest form of this condition can show such symptoms as poor hair quality and hair loss, brittle nails and muscle weakness.
Beetroot is rich in iron - the main component of red blood cells - which plays a key role in helping the erythrocytes transfer oxygen in our bodies. Adding this root vegetable to your diet will no doubt help you both prevent the development of anaemia and treat its early symptoms.
5/ The perfect antioxidant
Beetroot juice contains huge amounts of vitamin A, beta-carotene, ferulic acid and flavonoids. All of these components are excellent antioxidants that protect our bodies from the influence of free radicals and help release toxins from our liver. In addition, antioxidants contained in beetroot provide a positive influence on our metabolism, help neutralise the influence of UV rays and reduce inflammation.
Beetroot is typically associated with winter but is usually in season in Europe from late summer to early autumn. Having said that, there is no reason to stick to these particular months, for beetroot maintains its health benefits and keeps well, making it all the more valuable.
By sticking to such basic storage conditions as high humidity and a temperature of up to 3°С, the harvest can last all year around. Another way of storing it would be to wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge where it can usually last about a month.
Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of beetroot’s many health benefits, you will likely not hold back on incorporating it into your diet. There is no lack of dishes where beetroot is the main protagonist. From the Russian borscht to all sorts of healthy salads.
For those after a more straightforward approach, plenty of supplements are available offering equally great benefits.
Our top picks
KOS Organic Beet Root Powder
A 100% pure powder made with organic beetroot. USDA Organic certified.
Daily Multi Nutrient
Multi-beneficial formula for young women (up to age 44) to meet their physiological and psychological demands. Contains organic beetroot powder.
California Gold Nutrition Superfoods
Organic Beet Powder
An organic beetroot powder USDA Organic certified. Produced using a special InfiDri drying process to ensure the preservation of its naturally occurring nutrients.