is beetroot good for diabetes
Nutrition

Beetroot - Good or Bad for Diabetes

Beetroot is enriched with several nutrients making it beneficial for health. Research shows it is suitable for people who have diabetes with its known benefit for improving cardiovascular health and enhancing blood circulation. It is a superfood rich in antioxidants, loaded with potassium & folate, fibre, iron, and vitamin C. As a fibre-rich vegetable, it is known to lower blood sugar and blood pressure, beneficial for diabetic individuals. 

Benefits of Beetroot Consumption

1. Lowers blood sugar and insulin

Beetroot is rich in phytochemicals which helps in lowering blood sugar and regulating the insulin level in the body. Inability to cause enough insulin hormone, which normal blood sugar level is the primary cause of diabetes. Hence, a low insulin level leads to high blood sugar in diabetic patients. According to research, it is found that beetroot juice improves insulin sensitivity in obese diabetic patient and hence reduce blood sugar level. According to a study conducted in 2014, it was found that consuming 225 ml of beetroot juice after a meal suppressed the glucose level and hence controlled blood sugar.

2. Lowers risk of chronic disease

Beetroot is high in antioxidants, making it beneficial for preventing several chronic diseases. Antioxidants scavenge out free radicals known to cause cellular damage and hence prevent the occurrence of diseases. Oxidative stress is the damage of the cells caused by free radicals, and this is known to cause several chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and nerve damage. Beetroot consists of an antioxidant known as betalains for suppressing inflammation. One of the consequences of diabetes is nerve damage. However, an antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid found in beetroot is known to reduce nerve damage.  

3. Lowers risk of diabetes complications

Diabetes, in turn, can cause several complications associated with. High sugar in the blood can impact blood circulation and blood vessels. The presence of excess sugar in the blood damages the small and large blood vessels leading to improper blood circulation to various organs like kidneys, eyes, heart etc. Is beetroot juice good for diabetics is a question answered and supported by research showing how beetroot can reduce complications from diabetes. Here are some of the diabetic complications reduced by beetroot:

  • Neuropathy
  • Retinopathy
  • Nerve damage
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced oxidative stress

4. Reduced insulin resistance

According to some research, beetroot juice is known to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce its resistance in diabetic patients. With the reduced resistance to insulin, the hormone helps regulate and control the blood sugar level. Some evidence points towards the presence of metabolites in beetroot, which is known to reduce insulin resistance. According to a study conducted in 2017, it was found at obese participants who consumed beetroot juice with carbohydrates showed reduced insulin resistance as compared to non-obese participants. The study showed that beetroot juice is effective for obese diabetic people. So, is beetroot good for diabetes type 2? A study in 2013 showed that participants with diabetes type 2 who drank beetroot juice regularly did not show any changes in insulin resistance. However, this cannot be confirmed because the results were based on a few participants.

5. Lowers blood pressure

With diabetes comes many health complications like cardiovascular diseases, poor blood circulation and high blood pressure. A person suffering from high blood sugar is prone to high blood pressure due to damage to blood vessels. However, there is evidence that regular consumption of beetroot juice helps lower blood pressure. The beetroot is high in nitrate, which widens the blood vessel, promotes improved blood circulation, and reduces blood pressure. Some reports show that the regular consumption of beetroot juice helps lower systolic blood pressure. A study was conducted in 2013. It was found that drinking one cup of beetroot juice every day significantly reduced blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension by maintaining blood vessel elasticity.

Ways to include Beets in your Diet

Beetroot can be included in a regular diet in various ways. One of the best things about beetroot is it can be consumed raw, and its sweet flavour makes it edible. Beetroot is a versatile vegetable that provides the body with nutrients and nourishment and adds flavour and colour to the food. Here are some ways to add beetroot to your diet

Salad – Cut pieces of beetroot and add it to your salad to make it colourful and edible. You can also grate beetroot to reduce the size of the pieces.

Juice – One of the best ways to consume beetroot is in the form of juice. Add it to your favourite vegetables or fruits like carrot, orange, gooseberry, apple etc. and enjoy a wholesome health drink.

Roasted – One of the tastiest and crunchiest ways to eat beetroot is by roasting it. Cut thin slices of beetroot, roast in the oven and eat as it is or by adding as a topping.

However, it is vital to ensure that you consume fresh beetroots. While shopping for beetroot, buy beetroots with their greens intact as it is one indicator of its freshness.

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Bottomline

In conclusion, due to the presence of antioxidants, nitrates, phosphate and many other essential nutrients, beetroot is beneficial for people who have diabetes. There are no reports that show that it is harmful to diabetic patients. The rich antioxidants in beetroot are known to provide proven benefits, including reducing complications arising from diabetes, reducing the occurrence of chronic conditions, and controlling insulin levels. A dozen research studies conclude that beetroot in its raw form or as juice is beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels and is immensely helpful for diabetes.

FAQs

Can diabetics eat beetroot?

To understand if beetroot is good for diabetes, it would be vital to see its nutritional qualities and how it may benefit someone with blood sugar-related issues. Beetroot is often infamous amongst people with diabetes as it is a root and is known to be high in starch or carbs. However, it is high in water. While it is also moderately high in carbohydrates and sugars, the glycemic load overall is not unhealthy. Beetroots are rich in fiber, folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. These nutrients make the vegetable suitable for consumption. It helps to keep the blood pressure in check and can also improve digestive health. The benefits of consumption of beetroot are plenty.

Does beetroot increase blood sugar?

A beetroot diabetes connection is important to understand and clarify for a clear and accurate picture of how this food would play a role in the life of a person with diabetes. Beetroot is known to lower the overall blood sugar levels of the body. Studies have been conducted to support this statement. In other words, if a person with diabetes struggles to maintain their blood sugar levels, they can have beetroot or even beetroot juice. It is also known to improve overall insulin sensitivity. Beetroot is known to be rich in phytochemicals – this component is beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels of the body and can regulate insulin levels in a better and more efficient manner. “Can diabetic patients eat beetroot?” Yes, as it helps to lower blood sugar levels.

Is beetroot high in sugar?

Looking at the nutrition values of one cup of raw beetroot, it contains the following:

  • Carbs – 13 grams (of which sugars – 9.19 grams)
  • Fiber- 3.8 grams
  • Protein – 2.2 grams
  • Vitamins – B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6
  • Calcium 
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc

Looking at these values, it can be safe to say that beetroot is not super high in sugar levels. You can also balance the natural sugars in the beetroot by combining it with food with a low glycemic index (fewer carbs and sugar)

However, beets do have a higher sugar content as compared to other vegetables. However, the amount is still negligible and can be worth it looking at the plethora of other nutrients it may provide to the consumer.

What are the side effects of eating beetroot?

Essentially, beetroots are more or less safe to consume in small amounts. It can make the stool or urine appear pink, however, that is not a cause for concern. A small factor that can play a role and can be understood as a possible side effect of beetroots would be low calcium levels and damage to the kidneys. Since it is rich in oxalate, it can lead to kidney stones and can also cause certain allergic reactions at times. For women who are pregnant, the component betaine that is present in beetroots can cause complications. Additionally, it can also lead to certain allergies.

Who should avoid beetroot?

A person who is dealing with the following issues can avoid the consumption of beetroots:

  • Low blood pressure – The consumption of beetroots lowers blood pressure levels. Therefore,
    people already managing these symptoms can avoid the intake of beets
  • Stones – Any stones in the gallbladder or kidneys can be aggravated due to the high levels of oxalate in beetroots.
  • Allergies – Certain allergies or rashes are also known to increase upon the consumption of beetroot.

Consuming beetroot for diabetic patients would also need to be done after the consultation with a doctor or a dietician. At times, it may not suit everyone. Additionally, a dietician would be able to help you with how to balance the sugar content in the beetroot to lower the overall glycemic index of the food.

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