Is Beetroot Good for Diabetes?
History of Beetroot
Beetroot or simply beets, as it is known in the United States of America, was first cultivated in the Middle East. It was further grown in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. During ancient times, the beet plant was only used for its leaves and the root was thrown away. It was only during the Roman Era that the root was given importance as edible food. Today, Beet plants are mostly cultivated for their roots.
Beetroots got quite popular due to their colouring properties and taste.
Beetroot is a root vegetable that is eaten around the world. It grows on a beet plant. Beet plants are mostly grown in cool climates and at higher elevations. Beetroots grow in well-drained soil. They have long roots, which can sometimes grow 3 to 4 feet deep. Beetroot and its leaves are ripe when they are young.
Beetroot is used as a salad ingredient, as an accompaniment to a dish, juice ingredient, sandwich ingredient, in an Indian curry dish, pickle, food colourant and many more things. Beetroots can be eaten raw, boiled, roasted, or steamed.
Beetroots are quite popular in Indian cuisine in which it is used as a curry dish, dry dish, pickle and as a filling for snacks. Beetroots are suitable for cool climates and for this reason many northern countries depend on them a lot. They are also popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Beetroot is a great source of folate, manganese and fibre. It also has other nutrients and minerals present but in smaller quantities. Beetroot is a great food colourant and was also used as a hair colourant, lip colourant and blush in 19th century Europe.
Beetroot is considered a great vegetable for people diagnosed with diabetes. It can help them keep their blood sugar levels stable and will provide the vitamins and minerals necessary to live a healthy life.
Benefits of Beetroot
1. Helps keep blood pressure in control
According to studies, beetroots are great for people suffering from hypertension since it helps in lowering blood pressure. It contains nitrates which then get converted into nitric oxide inside the body. Nitric oxide helps in relaxing and dilating blood vessels and improves the flow of blood.
2. Improves physical performance and stamina
Due to the presence of nitrates, Beetroots increase the levels of nitric oxide in the body. Since nitric oxide improves blood flow, liver and lung function, and helps in muscle strengthening and recovery. This can increase your stamina and physical performance. Many athletes drink beetroot juice to increase their stamina and endurance. They also incorporate beetroot in their salads and smoothies. If your goal is to become healthy and improve your cardiovascular performance, then you should definitely start eating beetroots.
3. It improves your heart health and may reduce the chances of heart disease
As we have discussed earlier, beetroot raises the levels of nitric oxide in the body which improves blood flow and oxygen levels. Eating beetroot may also reduce the chances of heart disease and failure. Beetroot can also increase the strength of heart muscles in patients suffering from heart failure. That is why heart patients are told to drink beetroot juice regularly by their doctors.
4. It helps lose weight
Beetroot is a highly nutritious vegetable that is also low in calories. It only contains 44 calories per 100 grams. Beetroots are also rich in fibre which aids digestion and improves metabolism. Due to a good concentration of fibre, beetroots help you feel full for longer which can further help you consume fewer calories than you usually did. They are also made up of 88 per cent water. This would help you keep hydrated throughout the day and during your physical exercise as well.
5. It helps in managing blood sugar levels
Beetroots are great for people suffering from diabetes as it help in keeping blood sugar levels under control. Beetroots are rich in fibre which ensures that glucose is digested slowly by the body. It has a glycemic index of about 60, which makes it a medium glycemic index food and hence good for diabetic patients to consume. It is rich in antioxidants and multiple nutrients. Diabetic patients should definitely try incorporating beetroot into their diet because it can help reduce complications from diabetes.
6. It may improve brain function
Beetroots are nutrient-rich and improves the circulation of blood in the body. It can increase the blood flow to the brain by improving the health of blood vessels. This will lead to better cognitive function. It has been associated with reducing the effects of dementia and other mental problems related to old age. If you are getting older or think that your mental health might be deteriorating, then you should eat beetroots or try drinking beet juice.
7. May improve digestion
Beetroots are very nutritious and fibrous vegetables. The fibre present in beetroot helps in digestion and improves the gut health of a person. It also contains a good amount of water which also aids digestion. You should try eating more beetroots when you have an empty stomach, it is a great remedy.
8. Improves hair health
Beetroot can improve the texture and health of your hair. People have been using beetroot as a remedy for hair growth for centuries. It improves blood circulation in the scalp which is good for hair growth. It also strengthens your hair and reduces hair fall. Beetroot also has anti-dandruff properties. In conclusion, beetroot is great for your hair health.
10. Improves skin health
Beetroot is filled with antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory which is great for promoting skin health. Beetroots have a high percentage of water which hydrates and rejuvenates the skin. Many people suggest applying beetroot juice on the skin to reduce wrinkles and reduce other signs of ageing. However, no detailed study has yet been conducted on the wrinkle reduction properties of beetroot.
11. May improve bone strength
Beetroot is rich in manganese, folate, magnesium and potassium which are good for bone development. It helps in reducing the risk of osteoporosis, arthritis and other problems related to bones. Beetroot also contains vitamin C which reduces inflammation in the bones and makes them more healthy.
Why beetroot is good for Diabetic patients
1. High in fibre
Beetroot is a vegetable that is rich in fibre. Fibre improves digestion and ensures that the nutrients are properly utilised in the body. It also ensures that sugar is slowly digested in the body, hence making it a good vegetable for diabetic patients. Try eating beetroot raw or in a salad to get the most fibre out of it.
2. Low in sugar
Beetroots only contain 6 grams of sugar per 100 grams which is a moderate to low concentration of sugar. It has a glycemic index of only 60 which makes it a moderate glycemic food, which means that it releases sugar slowly into the body and does not raise blood sugar levels rapidly. Beetroot also helps in losing weight which is very beneficial for diabetic patients.
3. It is low in calories
Beetroot contains only 44 calories per 100 grams and packs in a lot of essential nutrients. It is great for someone who wants to manage his or her diabetes since it contains almost no fats and is low in calories. Any person who wants to lose weight should try to incorporate beetroot into their diet.
4. They are rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants help in keeping cells in your body healthy. They protect the cells from free radicals and toxins. Beetroots are rich in antioxidants which reduce stress and help in the management of blood sugar levels in the body. Antioxidants are essential for regulating the blood sugar levels in your body.
5. May help reduce nerve damage
Beetroots contain blood purifying properties and are rich in antioxidants. Both of which may reduce the chances of nerve damage in diabetic patients. Nerve damage is one of the most damaging side effects of diabetes. Hence, it can be really beneficial for diabetic patients to eat beetroots.
Problems associated with eating Beetroot
1. It leaves its colour
Beetroots are infamous for leaving their pinkish-red colour on everything. It leaves colour on teeth, which can then look unappealing to others. It makes your lips and tongue pinkish red as well, which can cause embarrassment in front of others. Beetroots are also known to make your urine and stool appear red as well, this condition is known as Beeturia. Beeturia can also cause discomfort when passing urine.
However, beets are not harmful because they leave colour. It is just a harmless side effect of beetroots.
2. Can be harmful to people with low blood pressure
While beetroot and beetroot juice is quite beneficial for people having high blood pressure, they can be equally harmful to people with low blood pressure. Since it has blood purifying and blood pressure lowering properties, it can cause blood pressure to be dangerously low for people suffering from low blood pressure. Hence, if you are someone who has been diagnosed with low blood pressure then you should definitely avoid or reduce the consumption of beetroots.
3. Can increase the risk of kidney stones
Even though beetroots are rich in antioxidants that remove toxins and purify the organs of the body, they can also sometimes raise the risk of developing kidney stones. This is due to the presence of oxalates in beetroot. However, you are at risk only if you have a history of kidney stones.
4. May cause allergic reactions
Sometimes eating beetroot can cause allergic reactions in some people. Allergic reactions from beetroot may include rashes, sneezing, swelling, itching, headaches, hives, fever, chills etc. Some food allergies can be quite harmful to people and should be treated as soon as possible. If you are allergic to Beetroot then you should stop eating it immediately.
5. May cause calcium deficiency
Many studies have shown that consumption of beetroot or beet juice can cause calcium deficiency in the human body. It can therefore make your bones weak and should not be consumed in large quantities. It is especially harmful to women over the age of 30 because they are at a higher risk of bone problems and anaemia.
6. Can cause Gastrointestinal issues
Eating too much beetroot or beet juice can cause gastrointestinal issues in people. It can cause bloating and flatulence in people who consume it. It can also cause problems with bowel movements and may lead to diarrhoea or constipation. Since Beetroot is high in fibre, it can also cause the accumulation of gas in the stomach. Therefore, beetroots should only be consumed in moderation if you want to keep your gut healthy.
Different ways to eat Beetroot
1. As a juice
Beet juice is one of the healthiest drinks you can ever have. If you don’t like the taste of raw, cut beetroot then you should definitely give beet juice a try. The best part about making beet juice is that you can customise it according to your preference- you can add a little sugar or salt to it, can put masalas in it, or mix it with other fruits and vegetables to make it more tasty and nutritious.
2. Boil it or steam it
Another great way to eat beetroot is boiling or steaming it after cutting it into small pieces. Make sure you don’t boil it too much since this can lead to nutrition loss. After you have boiled or steamed it you can add salt and spices to it and garnish it. Boiling beetroot also ensures the removal of most of the colour in it. Making it better for your teeth, tongue and lips. Boiled beetroot is a tasty and nutritious snack that everyone should try.
3. Pickled Beetroot
pickled beetroot is quite popular in some places. It is a sour accompaniment that you can have with your dinner. It is quite tasty and goes well with other foods like dal rice, khichdi etc. You can eat pickled beetroot directly as well. It is quite tasty on its own and is very healthy.
4. As a topping on sandwiches
You can use beetroots as a topping for your sandwiches. They are nutritious and go well with cheese and mayonnaise. Cut round pieces of beetroots and put them on a multigrain sandwich with some cream cheese and sour cream to make a healthy and tasty snack.
5. Beetroot cutlet or kebab
Beetroot can be used as an ingredient to make tasty cutlets and kebabs. Grate some beetroots, mix them with mashed potatoes, fill the mixture in a soaked bread and then fry it lightly to make tasty and healthy cutlets. You will like it so much that you’ll switch from normal cutlets with beetroot cutlets from now on.
6. Make beetroot hummus
Hummus is a kind of Mediterranean dip that is made from chickpeas. It is a very healthy dip, much healthier than cheese and mayonnaise. This healthy dip can be made even healthier by using beetroot instead of chickpeas. Beetroot hummus will be quite different in taste. Therefore, you should at least try this new kind of dip. Maybe it will turn out to be a nice surprise.
7. Use beet juice or puree in Cakes
Beet juice or puree can be used in many cakes because of its food colouring properties. It also adds a sweet punch, hence you may not need as much sugar when you use beet juice or puree. Beet juice helps in colouring the cakes and pastries to make them look more attractive and can also insert some nutrition in a nutritionless food. Beet juice or puree is heavily used in making red velvet cake.
8. Put it in salads
Beetroot is quite famous as a salad ingredient. It can be grated or cut into small long pieces and added to your salads. Try mixing beetroots with other fruits and vegetables to make a delectable and nutritious salad. Beetroots will provide your salad with a nutrition boost that you might be wanting.