What is the Best Vegetable for Your Heart?
If you are thinking of picking the healthiest veggie for your salad, consider using beetroots. This root veggie not only gives a nice, red color to your dishes, it is super healthy as well. Beets are even healthier than broccoli, spinach and kale.
he veggie gained popularity recently. In 2012 Olympic Games, athletes consumed beets both in extract and food forms, because this vegetable is believed to enhance athletic performance by 16%. Researchers confirmed this and explained that it is all in its ability to stimulate circulation and thus improve cardiovascular function.
Beets have been used since ancient times. They were a basic ingredient for Greeks, Romans and Jews. Historical data says that Aphrodite ate beets to boost her romantic power, which means that beets were used as an aphrodisiac. The Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, suggested that his patients ate beets.
Health benefits of beetroot
Red beet juice resembles blood, and it is packed with anti-aging compounds like betalains, betaines, and betatanins. The beet compounds provide strong anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and anticancer properties. They also rejuvenate cells.
The best thing about beets is the fact that they have the highest concentration of healthy nitrates when compared to other vegetables. In the human body nitrates are turned into nitric oxide, the master molecule that is responsible for the cardiovascular function.
It stimulates circulation, regulates blood pressure, inhibits arterial plaque growth, and prevents the formation of clots. Rocket salad (arugula), spinach, endive, kohlrabi, parsley and Chinese cabbage are some of the best sources of plant-based nitrates.
A study published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that the consumption of 500ml of beetroot juice improved the performance by 20% in cyclists. The second group of participants used a placebo. This study was conducted at the Exeter University. There are other studies which showed similar results.
It is not true that beets contain lots of sugar. They have a glycemic index of 48 to 64, but it is bad only if you get to eat 5 cups of beets at once. Who can eat that much? Half a cup of chopped beets marks a glycemic load of 3. The glycemic load stands for the amount of sugar provided by a serving.
Any value below 10 is considered low. A regular serving of beets has little sugar, and it provides a healthy amount of fiber, artery-friendly nitrate, magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin C, and other essential nutrients.
A recent study confirmed that root vegetables like carrots, beets, and turnips reduce the risk of diabetes. Of course, that does not apply to potatoes. Root veggies are a lot better option than fruits and above ground vegetables.
Try to eat beets more often, especially if you are about to perform a major endurance activity. Roasting your veggies is a nice way to enjoy this vegetable. Cut them in wedges, drizzle over extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle your favorite Italian herbs. The wedges should be more like lemon wedges. Roast your beets at 400 degrees for about 45-60 minutes, or al dente. Enjoy!