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Beets or beetroots have a long history and date back to ancient times. The first sign of the cultivation of beets dates back nearly 4,000 years ago in the Mediterranean. Beetroot has been grown across the world. Beets have been associated with sexuality and in some ancient cultures used as an aphrodisiac. Beets have long been used a source for sucrose and have become a replacement for tropical sugar cane.
Studies have shown that the fiber found in beets aids in the reduction of cholesterol and triglycerides by increasing HDL cholesterol which is known as “good” cholesterol. High levels of triglycerides increase the risk of heart-related issues. Beets contain a nutrient called betaine which is known to lower the levels of homocysteine in the body which is bad for blood vessels. Beetroot has been found to help prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. One recent study found that consuming beet juice helps to reduce blood pressure dramatically if consumed for one week. The fiber in beets also works to strip excess LDL cholesterol from the walls and help to eliminate it from the body quickly.
Beetroot is high in potassium which is known to be necessary for the prevention of stroke. Potassium is known as a vasodilator which means it helps to relax the blood vessels and reduce the blood pressure throughout the body. Potassium helps to reduce the blood pressure and open blood vessels and arteries, therefore reducing the chance of blood clots forming. Studies are being conducted with promising results which have found that the consumption of beets has an ongoing effect on blood pressure. One study found that blood pressure will drop over a 24 hour period. Beets seem to have a naturally delaying effect which means the body can adjust instead of instantly dropping blood pressure at a dangerous speed.
Research has found that beets contain a high amount of carbohydrates that provide the fuel for energy. The carbohydrates found in beets are natural building blocks of energy metabolism and provide no negative side effects, unlike other carbohydrate concentrated foods. Beets provide a good source of carbohydrates, which are needed to fuel the body and assist with important metabolic reactions keeping the organ system functioning efficiently. A recent study found that participants who consumed beetroot had a higher oxygen uptake. Promising results found that the oxygen uptake was higher by just over 15% perhaps due to the high nitrate content. A higher oxygen uptake can increase stamina.
Promising results have found that beets are good at preventing lung, colon and skin cancer due to the pigment betacyaninis. This pigment is known to be able to counteract the growth of cancer cells. A recent study found that beet juice can inhibit cell mutation caused by the nitrates found in meats. These nitrates produce a compound called nitrosamine. Recently, Hungarian researchers showed that beet juice and a powdered form slowed down cancer tumor development. Nutritionists and researchers believe that adding beets to your diet may keep you at a lower risk of developing cancer.
Beets contain beta-carotene which is known to help in the prevention of cataracts which can cause blindness. The beta-carotene can reduce macular degeneration that is common in older people. The vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant in the battle against eye disease. Beets are known to contain lutein which plays an important role in eye health. The greens of beets are a great source of lutein. Lutein is a carotenoid that assists in blocking out visible blue light which is one of the major causes of light-induced damage to the eyes.
Eating beets may cause something called “beeturia” which is the red or pink color found in the urine or stool. It is harmless. Beet greens contain high levels of oxalate which may help in the creation of kidney stones. Researchers suggest if you are predisposed to oxalate-containing kidney stones then you should limit your consumption. Some researchers believe that eating large quantities of beetroot may contribute to gout.