Various vegetables are classified under food product category, and beets are rightfully considered as one. Belonging to the chenopodiaceous family, the root part of the plant, is a delicacy that is loaded with nutrients. Cultivated since the dawn of civilization, the super-food is a rich source of sucrose and is often considered as a suitable alternative for sugarcane. Beets also have the rare distinction of being a natural food coloring agent in addition to possessing powerful medicinal properties. Here is a detailed look at beets benefits and side effects to help users understand the standout positive and adverse effects of the root.
Overview and beets benefits and side effects
Before we look at beets benefits and side effects here is a quick overview of the taproot. The vegetable holds the distinction of having the highest sugar content among vegetables, yet with extremely low calories. This combination of low calories and cholesterol makes it a healthy food product to have as part of regular diet. A power packed source of nutrients that include vitamins, minerals and essential organic compounds that include carotenoids and dietary fiber. Beets contain a combination of essential minerals including magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous. The range of benefits offered by beets is impressive, extending from dandruff to serious health issues that include heart ailments.
Among the various standout benefits, beets are best known for boosting performance in athletics and for helping improve recovery after strenuous workouts. For instance, individuals experience muscle soreness after workouts and beets are known to help reduce the soreness. Known for lowering blood pressure levels, the vegetable lives up to its reputation as a super food. This in-depth look at beets benefits and side effects helps users get a deeper understanding of the manner in which the properties of the vegetable offer the desired outcomes. The main mechanism of action of the properties are attributed to the chemicals with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties and the nitric oxide that reduces blood pressure levels.
Top benefits of beets
This part of the compilation of beets benefits and side effects takes a detailed look into the top benefits of beets. Beets continue to be one of the richest source of nutrients that make it one of the most popular vegetable in special diets. A rich source of essential vitamins, calcium, protein, iron and potassium, beets are popular and help combat certain conditions effectively with the following benefits.
#1 Benefits of beets – positive effect on cancer: By virtue of the potent antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties, beets have proven effects on individuals with certain forms of cancer. This in turn helps to bring down the risk of cancer in individuals. Another distinct property of beets is the presence of betacyanin that is known to have a positive impact on carcinogens. In addition to explaining the rich reddish color of beets, this also has an impact on individuals with cancer. Beets are also known to have high levels of a fiber that has proven results in reducing risk of colon cancer. This makes beets a powerful agent in helping fight against cancer.
#2 Benefits of beets – reduced risk of cardiovascular disease: The high folate and betaine levels in beets makes the vegetable formidable in helping reduce risk of heart ailments. This is attributed to the properties of the nutrients in lowering blood levels of homocysteine. The non-proteinogenic amino acid is known to have an impact on cardiovascular disease. By lowering the levels of the amino acid, beets help to fight inflammation of the arteries that are known to increase risk of heart disease.
#3 Benefits of beets – enhanced vision: Among the positive effects of beets, the impact on vision and eye health is regarded as important. The vegetable is a rich source of antioxidants, specifically lutein that offers protection against macular degeneration. The properties of the antioxidant makes it a powerful agent in preventing the formation of cataracts. Individuals who consume beets in some form regularly are known to experience benefits of enhanced eye health.
#4 Benefits of beet – improved endurance levels: While most of the benefits of beets have been attributed to health related effects, this is one benefit that stands out separately. The impact of the juice on the performance of individuals partaking in sporting activities has been documented clearly. The juice of beets is known to help boost performance levels of athletes and individuals in fitness regimens. In addition to the improved endurance levels, the juice is also known to bring down the resting blood pressure levels, with positive impact on performance. The nitrate content in the juice of beets is known to help improve endurance levels in individuals and this effect is more pronounced in the elderly. Individuals involved in routine activities such as walking or exercise regimens will find it a lot easier to perform activities with the help of beet juice.
#5 Benefits of beets – impact on patients with dementia: Other standout benefits of beets include the positive impact on patients with dementia. This is attributed to the mechanism of action of nitric acid that is produced in the body by beets. Nitric acid is known to increase blood flow in the body, and this increased blood flow to the brain, helps lower the risk of dementia among patients. The increased blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brains of elderly patients reduces dementia risk. One of the reasons for dementia is attributed to reduced blood flow to the brain among the elderly, and by virtue of improved blood flow, the elderly will experience lower risk of the condition.
#6 Benefits of beets – impact on constipation: Beets are known to have fiber content and this helps improve motility and reduce constipation levels. One of the reasons for constipation is the low fiber content that impacts motility levels in the digestive tract. Beets help fight constipation and offer individuals significant relief from the condition. Beets are part of a balanced and calculated diet to help patients grappling with digestive issues and constipation.
Commonly reported side effects of beet
Now that we have seen the benefits of beet, it is now time to check out the side effects of the juice, as part of the detailed look at beets benefits and side effects. By virtue of the high content of oxalates, the juice of beetroot is most likely to result in the formation of kidney stones. This is attributed to the binding of the oxalate compounds with calcium, which in turn results in the formation of the stones. Additionally, other common side effects are attributed to the increase in metal ion levels in the liver.
#1 Side effect of beets – beeturia: Individuals on beet juice are most likely to experience discoloration of urine as a result of a condition known as beeturia. The color of the urine may be anywhere between pink to red and is most likely to be manifested in individuals with low levels of iron. In most instances, the condition does not require any special medical intervention and resolves naturally, without any other adverse outcomes.
#2 Side effect of beets – anaphylaxis: Among the rarely reported side effects, it is necessary to be on guard against anaphylaxis. This condition refers to an allergic reaction that typically occurs when the individual develops sensitivity to specific allergens. Commonly reported allergic reactions include urticaria, possible asthma, hives, bronchospasm, and possible irritation in the throat.
#3 Side effect of beets – discoloration of stools: One of the easily discernible side effects of beetroot juice is the discoloration of the stools. Individuals on the juice are likely to observe dark, tarry stools or stools that are reddish in color. This is attributed to the impact on blood in the body as a result of consuming the juice. The discoloration may not require any specific medical intervention or attention and will resolve naturally.
#4 Side effect of beets – upset stomach condition: By virtue of the high nitrate content in beetroot, there is the possibility of individuals experiencing cramps in the abdomen. The upset stomach and cramps as a result of the condition, may cause discomfort among individuals and this may require treatment to mitigate the discomfort.
#5 Side effects of beets – impact on pregnant mothers: Pregnant women are likely to experience the outcomes of high nitrate content in the juice. While the symptoms and conditions mentioned earlier are likely to be experienced by all, pregnant women experience specific symptoms and conditions due to the increased methemoglobin levels. For instance, pregnant women are likely to experience a rapid loss of energy levels, discoloration of the skin in certain areas – around the eyes, limb extremities, lips and mouth. Pregnant women may also experience dizziness and headache as a result of increased methemoglobin levels.
As mentioned in the earlier section, there are clear benefits from beetroot juice. However, it is necessary to avoid excessive intake to prevent manifestations of various side effects. As seen from the compilation of beets benefits and side effects the exact quantity or frequency of use has to be determined on the basis of various criteria. For instance, pregnant women are advised to take only the recommended levels to prevent conditions mentioned in #5 above. Similarly, individuals at risk of developing kidney stones are also advised to take only moderate levels or avoid consuming the juice. Patients at risk of ailments due to increased metal ions are also advised to restrict the use and frequency of beetroot juice to prevent liver complications.
While most of the side effects of beetroot juice may be relatively harmless and may not require medical intervention, some conditions warrant medical intervention. For instance, side effects that affect the kidneys and the liver require adequate care and attention in a healthcare facility or by specialists to avoid adverse outcomes. Similarly, pregnant women who are at risk of developing conditions that are attributed to the high nitrate content may also require some kind of treatment to prevent aggravation of the condition. This compilation of beets benefits and side effects is intended to help the reader gain awareness and take suitable precautions. The actual effects may differ from person to person and hinges on various physiological factors.