Beetroot is a root vegetable known for its bright purple color and exceptional nutritional content. It’s not only an excellent source of fiber but also folic acid, manganese and potassium.
Beetroot is grown around the world and is now used in many health supplements as a nutritive tonic and detoxifier.
The high fiber content of beet root is an important part of the detoxification process as it helps to move waste through the digestive tract.
One of the fibers in beet root is pectin, which is considered to stimulate the cleansing action of the liver and assist in the removal of toxins.
Being rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, beetroot is often recommended as part of a liver cleansing diet.
It contains excellent quantities of iron, calcium, Vitamin C and B vitamins, as well as potassium.
Beetroot juice is now believed to be a potential treatment for a range of chronic illnesses associated with oxidative stress and inflammation. Beet root contains important antioxidant compounds such as betalain pigments which have been found to scavenge free radicals and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
It’s also suggested that beet root helps to strengthen internal antioxidant defenses, creating an internal defense system for body cells against oxidative damage.
Scientific reviews show that the most abundant betalain constituent found in beetroot is betanin which is a powerful inhibitor of oxidative stress (1).
Betanin is believed to work by contributing electrons to molecules and defusing highly reactive radicals that target cell membranes.
This could also mean that beet root can help to protect again oxidative damage to DNA, lipid and protein structures.
Beet root has been found to increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood as well as reducing the amount of oxygen that muscles require in order to function at their best.
For this reason, many athletes consume beet root to aid in energy production and boost performance and stamina.
A study published in journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that athletes who drank nitrate-rich beetroot juice improved their time trial performances for cycling at altitude.
Researchers concluded that consuming beetroot was a practical means of enhancing their physical performance of high-endurance exercise at altitude (2).
The nitrates in beet root are changed to nitric oxide through a natural chemical process in the body. Nitric oxide is an important chemical required for regulating blood flow and blood pressure.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that patients treated with a low dose of beetroot showed significant improvements in their blood pressure. This study suggested that the nitrates in beet root can help to lower both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
Another study comparing the effect of beetroot and apple juice or a placebo juice showed that the beetroot and apple juice significantly lowered systolic blood pressure within just six hours after consumption. This was even more apparent for the men in the study (3).