Beetroot – a vegetable packed with health benefits

This is a great time of year for delicious, healthy, beetroot.

Here are some reasons why beetroot is so wonderful.

• It contains nitrates which, converted in the body to nitric oxide, widen arteries. This increases blood flow, lowering blood pressure, reducing risk of dementia, and increasing endurance/performance due to increased blood flow.

• Betaine helps the liver eliminate toxins. It is an important methyl donor (methylation is a chemical reaction that produces vital processes in the body ), thereby reducing homocysteine and lowering risk of CVD. It helps with depression as it is a neural transporter, increasing the brain’s ability to maintain sufficient levels of serotonin and dopamine.

• Betacyanin, the pigment that give beetroot its colour, is a powerful antioxidant, preventing oxidation of LDL cholesterol and protecting artery walls, reducing risk of heart disease. It increases detoxification in the liver and is thought to prevent some cancers.

• Folic acid, essential for normal tissue growth, helps prevent neural tube defects causing spina bifida in the first trimester of pregnancy. It is also a methyl donor.

• Silica helps the body utilise calcium, increasing musculoskeletal strength and lowering osteoporosis risk.

• Other nutrients in beetroot include iron for anaemia and fatigue, immuneboosting vitamin C, fibre to eliminate waste, and essential minerals such as potassium (for nerve and muscle function ) and manganese (for bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas ).

• Boron, related to sex hormone production, and with boron and nitric oxide combined, beetroot is quite the aphrodisiac, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

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