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the veg that's packing
where it matters most

Picture of James Kearslake
James Kearslake

Small business owner,
writer, mental
health advocate

Table of Contents

My blessed beet…

The beetroot.

The beta vulgaris.

My natural remedy to sustained energy levels, improved mental performance, and endurance running – I’d be lost without you!

Did you know beetroot increases blood cell count

Its benefits also include:

  • increased energy levels
  • improved performance on the gym floor
  • heightened brain functionality and mental clarity
  • sustained mental endurance during difficult periods in the office

This root veg may be small in size, but packs punch in nutritional value.

Here’s why this blood red veg remains a staple in my mindfully nutritious diet.

The basics

Packing with essential vitamins and minerals, it is often used to improve haemoglobin levels and tackle anaemia. Yet, people fail to shout about its benefits for day-to-day usage.

In a world where we’re always on the go, and operating at speed, well-selected nutrition can help us sustain enduring periods in life, limiting the affects on our energy levels and the impending sense of exhaustion.

Beetroot is my natural go to for ensuring optimum energy levels.

Beetroot l Why you need this packing root veg |

Physical Performance

It has long been proven that beetroot increases blood flow in the body which directly improves physical performance in sports and fitness, and can significantly increase endurance in long-distance training. This is achieved through a combination of micronutrients:

1. Iron

A critical mineral for the body, iron is known to improve red blood cell count in the body, and increase haemoglobin which is a protein in blood cells that carries oxygen to the body. 

Also responsible for removing carbon dioxide, increased haemoglobin battles fatigue and results in increased energy levels

2. Folate (vitamin B9)

A vitamin essential for the production of red blood cells, cell growth, and regeneration. Red blood cells carry oxygen to our muscles, and during cardiovascular training we use oxygen as a critical energy source. Therefore, an increased level of oxygen supply to the muscles offers you a longer than usual training period.

A vitamin you hear less about, folate is important to maintaining your natural energy levels

3. Vitamin C

A powerful antioxidant we love at Wellness HQ (more on that coming soon👌) that helps boost the immune system and protect against cellular damage. Vitamin C is a superpower we think more of you should load up on, daily. 

Combined with vitamin C’s ability to increase absorption of iron when paired, the beetroot is special for supplying both minerals together

4. Betaine

Scientifically referred to as trimethylglycine (TMG), betaine is a molecule that aids the breakdown of homocysteine; an amino acid that can damage the lining of our arteries if it’s presence is too high within our blood stream. 

By maintaining healthy levels of homocysteine, we maintain a health flow of blood through our arteries, and prevent the risk of blood clots and heart attacks. Clear arteries and  a health blood flow are known to aid physical performance in exercise

5. Nitrates

ii. lowers blood pressure

Another wonder molecule, nitrates found in the blessed beet have a number of benefits:

i. improves blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles

This occurs when nitrate converts to nitric oxide within the body. Nitric oxide is known for increasing the size of blood vessel for improved blood circulation

Increased blood flow from the nitric oxide also reduces stress on the heart, thereby reducing blood pressure

iii. has anti-inflammatory properties

Chronic or sustained inflammation in the body can be a cause of major health conditions, included mental ill-health. When our body undergoes constant and sustained inflammation it can severely affect our physical and mental energy, and physical performance.

Nitrates have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body | National Library of Medicine (1)

iiii. increases cognitive performance

While one may argue brain function isn’t a direct benefit to physical performance, I contest that exercise and fitness is so often mindset over movement. In short, our brains often give way long before our physical selves.

Maintaining mental clarity and improved cognitive performance improves our mental wellbeing, thus increasing feel-good hormones, self-confidence, and our belief that we can endure for longer periods than usual.

6. Potassium

Also lowering bloody pressure; potassium naturally lowers our blood sugar levels, which prevents constriction of blood vessels, thereby reducing pressure on the heart

7. Magnesium

The fourth most abundant mineral in the body, potassium helps maintain a regular heartbeat, and supports normal functioning of nerve impulse conduction. 

Nerve impulse is a critical process in ‘transmitting signals in the form of a nerve impulse from the central nervous system to the peripheral body parts‘ []. The firing of these signals, or nerve impulses, is critical to physical movement and exercise. 

Optimising our nervous system improves the speed at which these signals fire, and thus improves our physical performance externally | National Library of Medicine (2)

In a world where we’re always on the go, well-selected nutrition can help us sustain enduring periods in life, and limit the impending sense of exhaustion

Mental Performance

Because beetroot is packed with nutritionally dense vitamins and minerals, the compound effect is felt throughout the body and brain.

The physical effects of increased oxygen uptake, and increased blood circulation throughout the body, resulting from the various minerals discussed under physical performance, creates an optimum operating environment for the brain.

Being the master organ of the human body, and being responsible for our thought, feelings, voluntary and involuntary actions, and so much more, eating foods that support good brain health is critical.

By increasing oxygen within the brain, blood circulation, and reducing chronic inflammation, we increase cognitive performance, resulting in a brain that is clearer, more focused, and able to sustain more challenging work for longer.

Minerals like folate which also play a role in the production and optimum functioning of neurotransmitters can have direct impact on our mood, as neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating mood and cognitive function.

Brain health is often overlooked in our society of aesthetically driven beauty, yet the brain is the foundation to every human being. Fail to maintain good brain health, and your mental and physical health will deteriorate as a result. Regardless of how good you currently look in a mirror.

Cancer beating properties

Finally, but not least importantly, the blessed beetroot is high in antioxidants which are known for attacking free radicals in the body and protect against cell damage. It can be the damage from free radicals that can cause cancers in the body.

Free radicals are oxygen that has split to single atoms in the body. This poses an issue as it leaves a single electron, where electrons usually come in pairs. The single electrons therefore trawls the body in hunt for a second electron, causing damage to cells, proteins, and DNA in the process.

Antioxidants neutralise the free radical by providing the second electron for the single free radical, or by ‘breaking down the free radical molecule to render it harmless.’ []

Consume it as a shake

I get it, not everyone loves the beetroot.

Reported as being ‘earthy’, many are put off by its taste. Although, I personally don’t agree it tastes ‘earthy’.

That aside, everyone can consume beetroot if they add it to their morning shake or nutribullet.

Combining mine with frozen fruits like berries, pineapple and mango, fresh salad including spinach, celery, and cucumber, and finishing with protein powder, peanut butter and electrolytes, you finish with a fruity shake, packing the nutritionally-dense punch of the blessed beetroot.

Everyone’s a winner, baby 😉

The verdict

Long believing in the benefits of the beetroot, I see a marked improvement to my physical performance on the gym floor and in my endurance training, on days when I’ve included beetroot in my nutribullet.

The beetroot really is a super-veg that packs punch for its size. 

For those of you who are invested in improving your physical or mental performance, simply supplementing beetroot into your diet will provide you with noticeable improvements across numerous areas of your life.

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