The beetroot, also known as red carrot or red turnip, is a vegetable rich in properties. It is a vegetable that is consumed throughout the year, as it adapts well to different cultivation conditions, and its sowing occurs in a staggered manner, from March to October. But let’s save the cultivation information for a specific in-depth article. Today, we want to focus our attention on the nutritional properties of this vegetable and, above all, the undeniable benefits that its regular consumption can bring to the body.
But first, let’s take a look at the plant.
The beetroot plant
The beetroot, Beta vulgaris var. cruenta, is a root vegetable belonging to the Chenopodiaceae family.
It is closely related to chard but differs from it in the root, which can reach up to 12 cm in diameter and is the prominent part when it comes to consuming the vegetable. It can be eaten both raw and cooked. The leaves, which have a colorful appearance with typical red veins, can also be consumed.
In addition to fresh consumption, which is what we absolutely recommend, beetroot can also be found canned or pre-cooked and vacuum-sealed in plastic containers.
Nutritional components of beetroot
The nutritional properties of beetroot are truly exceptional.
First and foremost, it is a very low-calorie vegetable, making it suitable for a weight-loss diet. It contains only 19 kcal per 100 grams.
Although it is low in calories, it is rich in other important elements such as carbohydrates (in the form of sugars), dietary fiber, proteins, and fats.
Beetroot is a vegetable rich in minerals, particularly potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
It also contains a variety of vitamins, including vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C, and B vitamins, including the important folate (vitamin B9).
Beetroot is also rich in flavonoids, especially anthocyanins, which are responsible for its vibrant red color. Additionally, it is a vegetable loaded with essential amino acids, which need to be introduced into the body through the diet, as well as conditionally essential amino acids.
The health benefits of beetroot
Thanks to all these components, beetroot offers several health benefits for the body. Let’s see what they are:
- The folate it contains is particularly beneficial for pregnant women, as it contributes to the development of the baby’s neural tube;
- Its flavonoids provide antioxidant properties;
- The minerals in beetroot have diuretic, purifying, and remineralizing effects;
- Vitamin C strengthens the immune system;
- It is a vegetable that helps purify the liver;
- According to a study by the American Heart Association, published in the journal Hypertension, consuming beetroot juice can lower blood pressure, thus reducing hypertension;
- Also, thanks to folate, beetroot helps blood circulation, improving oxygenation, and is therefore particularly recommended before engaging in strenuous physical activity;
- Lastly, due to its iron content, beetroot is recommended for individuals with anemia, especially when combined with lemon, which enhances its absorption by the body.
Possible contraindications of beetroot
- The high sugar content suggests moderate consumption for people with diabetes;
- It is also not recommended for individuals with gastritis, as beetroot stimulates the production of gastric juices.
How to consume beetroot
To take advantage of the beneficial properties of beetroot, there are various preparations.
The first and simplest recipe is raw consumption. Simply grate it finely and season it with extra virgin olive oil and lemon.
However, when consuming it raw, we recommend ensuring that the product comes from organic cultivation, preferably from your own garden.
Another popular way to consume beetroot is after boiling, as raw beetroot can be quite tough. Once boiled, the recipe suggests cutting it into slices and seasoning it as an salad. This is probably the most common type of preparation.
Lately, beetroot juice has become very fashionable, considered a true elixir of beneficial properties.
To extract the juice from the red carrot, you can use a common kitchen extractor, starting from raw beetroot.
This way, you obtain a concentrated juice of pure red turnip. However, you can also mix it with other vegetables, such as classic carrots.
For the consumption of the juice, it is advisable not to exceed 200 ml per day. This is because of the increased production of gastric juices. It’s always good to allow your body to get used to new elements without overdoing it.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) – “Salt and Drought Stress Responses in Cultivated Beets (Beta vulgaris L.) and Wild Beet (Beta maritima L.)” – The article discusses the responses of cultivated beets and their wild ancestor, Beta maritima L., to salt and drought stresses.
- ResearchGate – “Yield and quality performance of beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) as influenced by organic manure management” – The research evaluates the performance of beetroot cultivars for higher yield and quality through organic manures.