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BEETROOT (Beta vulgaris)


Also known as: beets, garden beet, golden beet, red beet, table beet)


Beetroot (beets)

Beetroots and Swiss chard are very closely related and share the same botanical name and the green leaves of the beetroot can be cooked and eaten similarly to spinach and Swiss chard. Beetroots are typically red but there are also white and golden varieties.


Beetroots are ideal for treating anaemia. With the high iron content, beetroot juice regenerates and reactivates red blood cells, supplies the body with fresh oxygen and helps the normal function of vesicular breathing. The betaines in beetroot function to reduce the concentration of homocysteine, a chemical that has been associated with the risk of heart disease. Beetroot also helps prevent spina bifida in babies when consumed during in pregnancy. Red beetroots possess beta-cyanin which gives them their deep red colour and provides the essential ingredient which can assist the body with recovery from many ailments when consumed regularly.


Beetroot increases the uptake of oxygen by the body due to its high nitrate content. One study showed that drinking beetroot juice could increase an individual's stamina and brain function by 16%. Nitrate is responsible for proper functioning of the brain and the transmission of nerve impulses which helps with brain function which can help to prevent and treat dementia. The betaine content is helpful in treatment of depression as it enhances the production of serotonin and the amino acid, tryptophan, helps to relax the mind and create a sense of well-being.


Beetroots can reduce blood pressure because they are rich in nitrates which produces nitric oxide in the blood and this causes widening of blood vessels and lowering of blood pressure. In studies, it has been found that consumption of about 500 grams of beetroot or 500 ml of beetroot juice every day reduces a person’s blood pressure within around six hours.


Nitric oxide regulates the blood flow and retards clogging of blood vessels by inhibiting platelet aggregation and the development of inflammatory cells. Nitrite also provides protection against ischemia/reperfusion injury in the myocardial vasculature which shows that it plays an important role in cardiovascular homeostasis.


Beetroots are a good source of potassium which is a vasodilator that means it dilates the blood vessels. When vessels are dilated, they become relaxed and this then also lowers the blood pressure throughout the body and therefore clots are less likely to form.


Beetroots are also rich in silicon which helps the body to use calcium efficiently and this is very important for the health of the bones, hair, muscles, nails and teeth. One glass of beetroot juice a day can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.


Beetroot fibre has antioxidant properties due to the presence of enzymes like glutathione peroxidase that has been shown to increase the number of white blood cells, which detect and eliminate harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses. Beetroots are also rich in glutamine, an amino acid, beneficial for the health and maintenance of the gastrointestinal tract.

Beetroots are low in fat and contain no cholesterol, but they possess the highest sugar content of all vegetables so should be consumed in moderation by those wishing to lose weight. Beetroot  has a medium glycaemic index (GI) of 64 which means that it releases blood sugars slowly. This property stabilises the blood sugar levels while satiating the sugar craving so is a good choice for individuals with diabetes.


Beetroot health benefits



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Significant nutrients in beetroot

NOTE: Beetroots should not be overcooked as they lose 25% of the vitamin B9 (folic acid) content when cooked.

Raw juice therapy is very useful when recovering from illness but is ideal for adding to the diet for anyone as it provides all the essential nutrients required for optimum health with less bulk. Make a raw juice once a day with the following ingredients. Try to obtain organic produce if possible.

  • One avocado

  • One beetroot

  • One carrot

  • One apple

  • One lemon

  • One knuckle of ginger

  • One teaspoon olive or any other cold-pressed oil of choice.

Wash and chop the ingredients before placing in a slow juicer of at least 900 watts. Stir in the teaspoon of oil then drink immediately. For many more recipes for various health disorders see Raw juice therapy.

NOTE: In order to absorb the fat-soluble nutrients in beetroots, such as the carotenoids, they must be consumed with a small amount of foods containing natural oils such as avocado, coconut, fish, nut, seed or other plant cold-pressed oils.

CAUTION: Individuals with iron and copper disorders, such as haemochromatosis and Wilson's disease, should avoid excessive consumption of beetroot.

CAUTION: Due to the oxalate content, individuals with already existing kidney or gallbladder problems or those prone to developing calcium oxalate stones may want to avoid eating beetroot leaves and Swiss chard. See Oxalates.

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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