Beetroot is a superfood that is rich in vitamins, minerals and organic compounds such as carotenoids, lutein or zeaxanthin, betaine, glycine, Vitamin C and dietary fibre. It is considered to be a powerful antioxidant and is said to help prevent heart disease, anemia and aging. It also has several other health benefits including improving exercise performance. It is also a source of nitrates, which convert to nitric oxide in the body and induce various physiological functions such as vasodilation, blood flow regulation, increasing glucose uptake and muscle contractions.
However, like any food or supplement, it is advisable to be cautious and consider the side effects of beetroot before using it. A common side effect of beetroot is that it may cause the urine and stools to become reddish in color. This is due to the nitrates in beetroot, which can change the pigmentation of certain tissues. This is harmless and will clear up when the amount of beetroot in your diet is reduced.
Another side effect of beetroot is that if you have a sensitive stomach, it can cause gas and bloating. It is recommended to drink beetroot juice on an empty stomach for better absorption. If you are suffering from gastrointestinal problems, it is advisable to consult your Ayurvedic physician before taking beetroot extracts or drinking beetroot juice.
While consuming beetroot, it is important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. It is also a good idea to add lemon juice or a splash of vinegar to the beetroot juice, as it helps in getting rid of any bitterness.
If you are diabetic, it is a good idea to consume beetroot in moderation, as it is high in natural sugars. This can lead to high levels of blood sugar, which is why you should limit the quantity of beetroot you consume and monitor your blood sugar regularly.
In rare cases, beetroot can be a trigger for an allergic reaction. In one case, a girl developed urticaria (red rashes that itch intensely, sometimes leading to dangerous swelling) and asthma after ingesting boiled beetroot. It was suggested that she might have an allergy to the nitrates in beetroot, as they converted to nitrites in her digestive tract.
Although not proven, it is believed that beetroot can lower triglyceride levels and improve liver function by promoting fat breakdown and increasing nitric oxide production. However, more research is needed to support these claims.