Beetroots; you’ll either love them or hate them. But when you find out just how good they are for your body, you may start to love them a little bit more.
Used by athletes to increase endurance, a glass of beetroot juice a day can help to lower your blood pressure. Beetroot can also slow the progression of dementia, slow the production of cancer cells and support a cancer treatment program. So why is beetroot so good for you and why should you try to include it in your diet?
A Hearty Vegetable
Beetroots are packed with nitrates, containing around 20 times more than most other vegetables. Nitrates as an additive in food received bad press over their link to cancer, and in the 60s the World Health Organization even set an upper limit on the safe levels of nitrates in food. However, studies show that naturally occurring nitrates in beetroot can help to lower blood pressure. Bacteria in the mouth and gut turn the nitrates in beetroot into nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes the blood vessels, causing them to widen and allowing blood to circulate more easily.
One 2010 study showed that one 250ml glass of beetroot juice resulted in lowered blood pressure for hours afterwards. Furthermore, the most dramatic drops in blood pressure were noted in people who had much higher blood pressure to begin with. It is estimated that, if beetroot juice was consumed by more people, there would be a 10% decrease in death from cardiovascular disease.
Boost Brain Power
Studies have shown that beetroot may help to decrease the progression of dementia. The nitric oxide promotes blood flow and boosts the provision of blood to the brain. Additionally, the high levels of folic acid in beetroot may help to protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease.
Beetroot gets its red color from betacyanin, which is a powerful antioxidant shown to have cancer fighting properties. One 2011 study showed that exposing betacyanin to breast cancer cells and prostate cancer cells can slow tumor growth by 12.5%.
What Can You Do?
By including beetroot in your diet you are not going to suddenly become fitter and healthier. However, as part of a healthy, low fat diet, beetroot is great as one of your 5 a day. Try it juiced, pickled, in soups or salads to help you to get your recommended intake of fiber and folic acid as well as helping to reduce your blood cancer and helping your immune system to kill off cancer cells.
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