Is Beetroot Good for Diabetes?

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

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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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.

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