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 Beetroot - is this Super Food a sports supplement or is it the new mood food.


So you think you know beetroot - the humble root vegetable, so often found in pantries in its pickled form since World War II. But truly, it is so much more. In fact, it is a nutritional powerhouse now widely regarded as a superfood!


Humble beginnings


The beetroot is no stranger to the average household.


Also known as "table beet", it is one of the many cultivated varieties of Beta vulgaris and the most common variety found in Britain, North America and Central America today.


In the earliest days of its consumption, the leaves were most commonly eaten by people living in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. The Romans then began to make use of the root for various medicinal purposes. Over the years, it became popular in Central and Eastern Europe for culinary purposes too.


Beetroot, as we know it today, was only cultivated in the 16th century. You may be surprised to learn that modern varieties are derived from the sea beet, an inedible plant that grows wild along the coasts of Europe, North Africa and Asia.


A super-root in disguise


Unlike some of the other, better known superfoods, like wheatgrass, spirulina or acai berry, beetroot is not overtly exotic. But don't let that fool you.


What has traditionally been viewed as a boring, somewhat unappetising vegetable, is really a "super-root" in disguise!


It is a rich source of both carbohydrates and plant proteins, along with a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients (considered in more detail below).


At the same time, it has a very low caloric value and is almost entirely free of fat. It is also a low-GI food - the sugar conversion process is slow, which supports stable blood sugar levels.



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The antioxidants and nutrients in beetroot are beneficial for Heart health, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Beetroot's carotenoids and flavonoids can help to reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which could lead to damaged artery walls and ultimately heart attacks and strokes.



This new and improved combination beetroot and Montmorency cherry capsules

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In particular beet fibre has been shown to have cholesterol-lowering capabilities. Similarly, betaine, a nutrient found in beetroot, lowers plasma homocysteine, a possible risk factor for cardiovascular disease.


Beetroot has also been shown to lower blood pressure and thereby help to prevent cardiovascular problems. This is likely to be because the high content of dietary nitrate in beetroot, produces a gas called nitric oxide in the blood, which widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.


Several studies have shown that betaine (a nutrient found in high levels in beetroot) supports healthy liver function, particularly where there is a build-up of fatty deposits in the liver caused by alcohol abuse, protein deficiency or diabetes, among other causes.

When the liver is functioning properly, fats are broken down efficiently, promoting natural weight loss, preventing fatigue and supporting body detoxification. Beetroot is also naturally rich in alkaline elements, making it a great addition to any cleanse and detox programme.


Beetroot contains folic acid, which is essential for normal tissue growth. It is also therefore regarded as an

important dietary inclusion for women planning a pregnancy.


Beetroot contains the mineral silica. This helps the body to utilise calcium, which is important for musculoskeletal health and is also required for healthy skin, hair, nails and bones.


Beetroot is virtually fat-free and low in calories. Although it has a medium GI (Glycaemic Index) of 64, it has an extremely low GL (Glycaemic Load) of 2.9, which means it is converted into sugars very slowly and

therefore helps to keep blood sugar levels stable.


Beetroot helps to boost stamina and, due to its high iron content, helps with anaemia and fatigue syndrome. This is an organic form of iron (non-irritating). Young beetroot leaves are a better source of iron than Spinach!


Recent research has declared beetroot a “mood food”. It has been shown to stimulate the brain and contain

the compound betaine, which enhances the production of the body’s natural mood-enhancer, serotonin.

Beetroot can help to support the immune system, through its extraordinary range of vitamins, minerals and

other nutrients (particularly antioxidants), which mean our bodies are better able to fight off infection. These

nutrients help to stimulate the re-oxygenation of cells and the production of new blood cells.


The cellulose content of the beet acts as a bulk residue, increasing peristalsis. Its regular use therefore

prevents constipation.

Betaine in beetroot also helps individuals with hypochlorhydria, a condition causing abnormally low levels

of stomach acid, by increasing stomach acidity.


Beetroot supports many organs, including the key detoxification organs like the liver, gallbladder, spleen

and kidneys.


The unique combination of nutrients found in beetroot mean that it can offer ideal support for all-round health and vitality, including:


- a healthy heart and cholesterol levels

- detoxification and liver function

- a strong immune system

- healthy homocysteine levels

- normal tissue growth

- musculo-skeletal health

- healthy skin, hair and nails

- stable blood sugar levels

- stamina and energy levels

- stable moods

- and healthy digestion.



Belonging to the same family as two other nutritional titans, chard and spinach, both the leaves and roots of beetroot can be eaten.

Incorporate it into your daily diet and your body will thank you!





Antioxidants


You can't have failed to notice the vivid colour of beetroot - whether the deep purple, the bright yellow  or the lesser seen candy-stripes! Like so many other superfoods, these colours offer a visual clue about the high level of antioxidants, carotenoids and flavonoids found in beetroot.


The notorious red colour compound is called betanin (or beetroot red), a pigment which is a well-known antioxidant and phyto-chemical. However, all beets contain betalain antioxidants - a class of red and yellow pigments found in plants.


Vitamins and minerals


Beetroot is also rich in a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals, contributing to its reputation as a superfood.


For example, it contains high levels of foliate and vitamin C (another powerful antioxidant), as well as riboflavin, niacin and thiamin, vitamin K, calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron.


Dietary fibre


Beetroot is high in dietary fibre - both soluble and insoluble. A 100g portion about two or three small beetroot contains as much as 10% of your recommended daily allowance.


Fibre is an essential component of healthy digestion and supports everything from stable blood sugar levels to natural cleanse and detox processes in the body.


Beetroot is a rich source of carbohydrates and proteins and, more importantly, is also incredibly rich in a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants (such as betanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its colour) and nutrients, including magnesium, manganese, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, soluble fibre, calcium, iron, Vitamins A, B and C, folic acid and betaine.


It has a very low caloric value, is almost entirely free of fats and has a very low glycaemic load (in other words, the sugar conversion process is extremely slow and allows for a stabilisation of sugar levels in the blood).


Dietary nitrates


 It is also rich in dietary nitrates, which leads to a reduction in oxygen uptake, increasing stamina and making exercise less tiring.


More recently, much research has been undertaken on beetroot's capacity to absorb and store exceptionally high levels of nitrate - a nutrient involved in many of the processes that are essential for efficient exercise performance, including blood flow and oxygen usage.


Studies have demonstrated the positive effects beetroot can have on exercise performance and muscle growth.


For example, in a recent study conducted by Exeter University, scientists found cyclists who drank a half-litre of beetroot juice several hours before setting off were able to ride up to 16% longer than those who drank a placebo blackcurrant juice. Now used by many athletes during times of extreme training sessions when demands for energy and recovery are high.


In an ideal world, people would be able to enjoy all the benefits of beetroot by eating (or drinking the freshly-squeezed juice of) the fresh form of this nutritious root vegetable. However, for the vast majority of people this is simply not possible, particularly in the required quantities.

Even juices available from the supermarket are not ideal, due to the pasteurisation process, which destroys many of the essential enzymes.


CherryBeet take the hassle out of health by providing easy access to this SuperFood in a potent, convenient and easy-to-take capsule form.

Everyone can benefit from taking this remarkable food-based supplement, particularly endurance athletes and those with cardiovascular, respiratory or metabolic disorders.

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