In the field of nutrition and diabetes care, researchers are constantly looking for meals that can significantly improve blood sugar regulation. Beetroot has come to light as a potential ally in the fight against diabetes among the vibrant assortment of veggies that adorn our meals. This root vegetable has long been used to garnish salads and other foods because of its brilliant colour and earthy flavour, but more lately, both researchers and people who care about their health have become interested in how it may affect blood sugar levels. In this post, we'll delve into the intriguing world of beets and consider whether or not this red superfood can help you better control your diabetes.
What is Beetroot?
Beetroot, scientifically known as Beta vulgaris, is a root vegetable that belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family. It is also commonly referred to as beets or simply "beet" in some regions.
The edible part of the beetroot plant is the root itself, which can be consumed both raw and cooked. It has a sweet, earthy flavor that intensifies when cooked. Beetroot is a common ingredient in salads, soups, and side dishes. It can also be juiced to create a vibrant and nutritious beverage.
What does Beetroot taste like?
Beetroot has a unique and distinctive taste that can be described as sweet, earthy, and slightly bitter. The flavor profile can vary slightly depending on factors such as the beet's size, freshness, and cooking method. When raw, beetroot has a mild sweetness and a crisp, crunchy texture.
Nutritional Value of Beetroot
Beetroot is a highly nutritious vegetable that offers a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds. Here's a breakdown of the nutritional value of beetroot per 100 grams (raw and uncooked):
Calories: Approximately 43 calories
Carbohydrates: About 9.56 grams,
Dietary Fiber: Roughly 2.8 grams
Protein: About 1.61 grams
Vitamins: Vitamin C: Beetroot is a good source of vitamin C, providing about 4.9 milligrams per 100 grams. Vitamin C supports the immune system and acts as an antioxidant.
Folate (Vitamin B9): Beetroot contains approximately 109 micrograms of folate, which is essential for cell division and the formation of DNA and RNA.
Antioxidants: Beetroot is rich in antioxidants, particularly betalains (including betanin and vulgaxanthin), which give beetroot its distinctive red color. These antioxidants help combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body.
Nitrates: Beetroot is known for its high nitrate content, which can be converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a compound that helps relax and dilate blood vessels, potentially contributing to improved cardiovascular health and exercise performance.
Benefits of Beetroot for Diabetics
According to studies, beets offer a number of potent properties that can help lessen the effects of diabetes.
Low Glycemic Index (GI)
Beetroot has a low glycemic index, which means it doesn't cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels when consumed. This can be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes as it helps in managing blood sugar levels more effectively.
Lowering Blood Pressure
According to research, consuming beets or beet juice may help persons with high blood pressure. The pressure-lowering action of beetroot juice is apparently caused by the presence of nitrates. These nitrates make it easier for blood arteries to dilate, which encourages blood flow.
Improving Exercise Performance
Beetroot juice has gained popularity among athletes and fitness enthusiasts due to its potential to enhance exercise endurance. This can be particularly useful for individuals with diabetes who engage in physical activity as part of their management plan.
Are there Potential Risk for Diabetics in taking Beetroot?
Beetroot does contain carbohydrates, including natural sugars. While its glycemic index is low, consuming large quantities of beetroot in one sitting can still impact blood sugar levels. It's essential for individuals with diabetes to monitor their carbohydrate intake and portion sizes to avoid significant spikes in blood sugar.
Beetroot is relatively high in oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in susceptible individuals. If you have a history of kidney stones or are at risk, it's advisable to moderate your beetroot consumption and consult with a healthcare provider or dietitian.
Some people may experience beeturia, a harmless condition in which urine turns pink or reddish after consuming beetroot. While this condition is not harmful, it can be surprising if you're not aware of it.
But overall, there are no adverse life threatening risks to eating beetroot if you have diabetes.
Way to include Beetroot to your Diet
Raw Beetroot Salad
Grate or thinly slice raw beetroot and mix it with other salad ingredients like lettuce, carrots, cucumber, and your favorite dressing.
Consider adding some chopped nuts or seeds for extra crunch and nutrition.
Toss beetroot chunks with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast them in the oven until they're tender and slightly caramelized.
You can also roast beetroot with other vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes for a colorful and flavorful side dish.
Boiled or Steamed Beetroot
Boil or steam whole beetroot until they're fork-tender, then peel and slice them.
Serve as a side dish, or chop them into cubes to add to soups or stews.
Slice beetroot thinly, coat with a small amount of olive oil, and bake them until they turn crispy to make your own beetroot chips.
Season with salt or your favorite spices for added flavor.
Blend cooked or raw beetroot with fruits like apples, berries, and bananas for a colorful and nutritious smoothie.
Add yogurt or a dairy-free alternative to make it creamy.
Use a juicer to extract fresh beetroot juice. You can drink it on its own or combine it with other vegetable juices like carrot or celery.
Be mindful of portion size, as beetroot juice can be concentrated and may impact blood sugar levels.
Are Beets good for diabetes?
Beets can be a nutritious and diabetes-friendly food when consumed in moderation. They offer several health benefits, including their low glycemic index. They are certainly a great addition to your diet if you're trying to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do Beetroots really bring down Blood Pressure?
If you eat beetroots as part of a well-balanced diet, you can improve your health because they are quite nutrient-dense. Due to the nitrate concentration of beets, which can be converted to nitric oxide, some studies have indicated that they help lower blood pressure.
Where to Buy Beetroots in UK?
Beets are full of minerals and antioxidants that have been shown to be good for everyone's health. Beetroot consumption seems to be particularly advantageous for diabetics. Beets can help reduce the possibility of consequences from an untreated ailment.