Beetroot is a very healthy carbohydrate. It’s low in calories, but packed with health benefits. It’s also about half the calories of that of potatoes…
Beets have been shown to:
- lower high blood pressure, due to the vasodilation (1)
- nullify the effect of garlic breath
- lower homocystien levels, as it’s a potent methyl donor, which increases SAM (the universal methyl donor in the body) (2)
- increase nitric oxide (NO) levels in the body
- boost performance
- contain betaine
- reduce inflammation
- be very high in anti-oxidants
- be an aphrodisiac
Beets are very high in nitrate levels, which is important for vascular function.
But for the body to be able to use the beetroot’s nitrate, it first has to convert it into nitrite, which can then be used to boost vascularity.
In one study a group of people ate beetroot bread which contained 1 mmol of nitrite and saw a ~343% increase in vasodilation. Beets contains 250mg.kg nitrate. Which would be converted to 3.9mmol/kg. To get about 343% vasodilation directly from beets, you have to eat about 250g beets, which is about 1 whole beet.
1 kg of beets would increase your vasodilation more more than what was achieved in the study. 1kg of beetroot can also provide you with about 500ml of beetroot juice.
Athletes who consume beetroot juice before a training session increase their performance by boosting power output. (1)
Beetroot juice also reduces the whole body’s oxygen cost and improves maximal performance. (2)
Beets contain an amino acid called betaine.
Betaine is currently used in supplements which also claim to improve performance.
However, betaine supplementation does not improve body composition of sedentary individuals.
The betaine dosage used in the studies above, is between 2-2,5g. And the amount of betaine in a 100g of beetroot is about 230mg.
But I’m guessing no one would want to eat 1kg of beetroot everyday, so getting a betaine supplement would be a good idea.
More on betaine here…
No need to get discouraged if you’re not keen on eating 1kg of beet everyday, just for the sake of 2,5g of betaine… beets still contain all their benefits (as listed) even if you don’t eat 1kg everyday.