Your overall health depends on both your physical well-being as well as your mental health. We tend to lay more focus on the former and overlook the latter often belittling its presence and general importance. According to statistics, mental illness is the leading cause of disability in the United States alone and is found to be more common than diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular diseases. Despite these alarming figures, we still choose to direct our focus towards physical health more than mental health.
Food plays a vital role in our physical health. What we fail to acknowledge is the vital role that food plays in also helping our brain. Similar to how we adopt a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to ward off illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and cancer, we have the option to opt for a healthier diet and overall lifestyle to benefit our mental health as well. Simple dietary changes can help boost your cognition, as well as combat mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, etc. Many illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have been found to be significantly affected by diet. Various braintest reviews and cognitive studies have deduced that individuals living a sedentary lifestyle with an unhealthy diet are more prone to developing neurocognitive disorders than those who follow a healthy lifestyle with a good amount of exercise, a healthy diet, and sound sleep.
Where do beets come into the picture? This deep purple root vegetable is highly nutritious and sweet in taste. The red beet is a potent source of vitamins A, B and C, oxalates, iron, folate, magnesium, and potassium, antioxidants, fiber as well as protein. Need another reason to have more of beets in your diet? Here are 5 Ways Beets Help Improve Your Mental and Physical Health.
1. Beets Keep the Heart Healthy
The consumption of beetroot and beetroot juice has been found to lower blood pressure significantly within a matter of hours. Owing to the presence of nitrates in beetroots, beets have a blood pressure reducing effect that helps keep heart problems at bay. Another cause of heart disease is triglycerides. Triglycerides greatly impact individuals more prone to heart disease. Thus to lower the risk of heart disease, the overall body cholesterol, and triglyceride level must be reduced. Beetroots are known to reduce triglycerides and cholesterol and help increase the level of the cholesterol that aids heart disease prevention (i.e. HDL cholesterol).
2. Beets Provide Anti-inflammatory Properties
Anti-inflammatory properties are essential for the body when it comes to combating illnesses. Choline is a substance found in the body that helps form the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine, in turn, helps gut motility as well as helps boost memory. An amino acid derivative of choline known as betaine is responsible for monitoring and facilitating muscle gain and loss in addition to maintaining cellular membranes. Betaine also helps keep proteins and enzymes from external stresses that might provoke inflammation in various parts of the body, especially the brain. Beets are abundant in betaine as well as choline thereby making the beet an excellent source for combating any kind of inflammation that may affect your health. The more beets you eat, the less inflamed your body will be.
3. Beets are Great for Detoxifying
Detox is crucial for the body. The liver and blood need to be purified from toxins if they are to keep the body healthy. Beets are rich in a pigment called betalain. Betalain is a known detoxifying tool that helps the body detox in the phase 2 detoxification process. In this process, the body rids itself of unwanted toxins that are attached to small nutrient groups, neutralizes them and further makes them soluble so that they may easily be removed from the system. This natural pigment is responsible for the beetroot's deep purple-red color. This pigment is also employed often for use in natural beauty products. Another substance needed for liver detox is trimethylglycine. Trimethylglycine is responsible for reducing the amino acid homocysteine from our system; a substance that increases our risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and stroke. These two components of beetroots are the perfect detox agents that help purify our internal system thereby enabling our systems to perform better.
4. Beets are Energy Boosters
Beetroots are known to contain natural nitrates. Nitrates are converted to nitrites after digestion. Nitrites are responsible for expanding the walls of blood vessels while simultaneously increasing their oxygen carrying capacity. With the dilation of blood vessels, more oxygen uptake can be facilitated by our bodies reducing oxygen cost. Many athletes are advised to consume beetroot juice before exercise to boost their performance as beetroots enable greater oxygen uptake.
5. Beets Combat Dementia
As we age, our brain ages with us. A sign of aging is reduced blood flow to the brain. With reduced blood flow, there is also reduced oxygen flow. Beetroots are a rich source of nitrates, and after conversion, they are converted into nitrites. Nitrites dilate the blood vessels supplying oxygen to the brain. As blood vessels dilate, more blood flows to the brain and with increased blood flow is increased accompanying oxygen flow. This mechanism increases blood flow to the areas of the brain that are particularly oxygen deficient. One of the causes behind dementia and its symptoms is reduced oxygen reaching the brain. In addition to increased oxygen flow, beets are rich in choline which helps memory by forming the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Both these mechanisms work in conjunction with one another to prevent the occurrence of dementia.
When asked about methods to boost brain power and help brain fitness, the immediate assumption is brain exercises. As crucial as brain exercise is, to help your mind stay healthy and fit, all you need is a lifestyle change, i.e., a healthier diet with more beets consumption. Your gut is one of the best sources towards betterment when it comes to mental health. A diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, essential fatty acids and nutrients will help to improve your general well-being. Beets harbor countless benefits for both your mental and physical health. For a serious health condition, it is prudent to consider seeking professional help; however, the positive impact that diet has on our general well-being should not be ignored. Incorporate more beets into your diet and your life and watch yourself get healthier, one meal at a time.
About the Author
Michelle Joe is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences, and express herself through her blogs.
You can find Michelle on twitter: @michellejoe524.
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