Beets And Diabetes: A Healthy Marriage?

Beets And Diabetes: A Healthy Marriage?
Glycemic index:


Calories per 100 g:

33 kcal

If you are a person who suffers from diabetes, then you will be well aware of the fact that you need to be more conscious and careful about your relationship with food and the different food groups than your relationship with food and different food groups needs to be more conscious and careful than non-diabetic patients.

When issues like your blood pressure, blood flow, high blood sugar, insulin sensitivity, sugar levels and a healthy heart are particularly at stake, every single thing that you put into your mouth can have an impact on your overall wellbeing.

Doctors and holistic wellness professionals alike will be able to tell you that following a recommended diet is one of the best things that a diabetes person can do in an attempt to ease their diabetes complications.

We all know about the fact that diabetes patients should be trying to keep their food sugar levels as low as possible, in order to counteract the insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance that their bodies have. Sugar content is arguably the biggest consideration when thinking about diabetes complications.

As well as the regular foods you know are good for you, there are so-called 'super foods' out there that pack a fantastic punch of nutrients when it comes to keeping you healthy and all of your vitals and statistics at their desired levels.

When it comes to diabetes, you might consider beets to be a superfood.

Beets have become a trendy vegetable and are available in various colors, but as well as adding vibrancy to your plate (always helpful!), beets are good for you. The positive effects apply to whole beets and beet juice.

Here are some of the many reasons why beets make a great addition to the regular diet of people with diabetes.

Nutritional value

  • Protein 0.9 g
  • Carbohydrate 7.2 g
  • Fat 0.1 g
  • Fiber 1.8 g
  • Sugar 5.5 g
  • Cholesterol 0 g

What Are Beets?

Okay, so first of all, let's get familiar with what vegetable we are actually talking about!

Often referred to as one of the original 'superfoods', beets are a jewel-colored root vegetable that have been used for centuries not only because they taste good but also for the widespread beneficial effects that they can have on a variety of issues and conditions, from fever to constipation and everything in between!

Beets are one of the non-starchy vegetables, high in fiber and although they have a medium glycemic index (61), their actual glycemic load is 5 which is very low. (This is super important for people with diabetes as it means that beets do not have a major effect on blood sugar levels because the total carb amount in each serving is low.)

One cup of beets contains 60 calories made of

  • 88 % water

  • 2.2g protein

  • 13.1g carbohydrates

  • 9.3g sugar

  • 0.4g fiber

  • 0.3g fat

They promise so many health benefits because they are packed full of things like folate (vitamin B9), potassium, manganese, vitamin C, iron and other nutrients that are vital to maintaining general good health.

In particular, though, it has been proven that eating beets and drinking beet juice is especially helpful for people with diabetes. So why exactly is this link between diabetes and beets such a strong one?

The keyword in this situation is antioxidants. Beets and beetroot juice have been proven to be incredibly high in antioxidants and these are associated with a number of health benefits that link beetroot and diabetes type 2.

Let's take a look at some of the most significant benefits that a diabetes patient can receive when they introduce drinking beetroot juice to their diet as well as eating beets on a regular basis.

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Lower Blood Sugar and Insulin

Beets and beet juice are rich in something called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals have been shown to be able to regulate the effect that glucose and insulin have on human bodies.

One particular study in 2014 investigated the effects that beet juice had on blood glucose levels and blood glucose tolerance after consumption. It found that drinking beetroot juice in amounts of 225 ml (which is less than half a cup), could produce a significant drop in a person's post-meal glucose levels.

What this essentially means is that people who consumed beet juice were much better able to control their glucose tolerance in a natural way, and this is obviously a game-changer with diabetes.

It has been established many times in significant studies that eating beets and drinking beetroot juice genuinely puts you at lower risk of chronic diseases and wider common complications from chronic disease.

This is because powerful antioxidants help to prevent increased risk of disease by fighting the free radicals that can cause cell damage and nerve damage. This is known as oxidative stress and has been linked to numerous serious health problems ranging from heart disease to cancer.

Beets and beetroot juice contain an average of 1.7 millimoles of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces, and this high amount can help with things like inflammation.

The less inflamed your body is, the healthier your blood vessels will be able to work, which in turn will help with both lower blood pressure or high blood pressure in equal measure.

As people with diabetes know, reducing blood pressure is one of the most important things to do. And blood pressure levels in both obese and nonobese adults can be a worry when diabetes is in the picture.

Diabetes causes harmful damage to your small blood vessels and large blood vessels. Obviously, your vessels are an integral part of your system, and problems in this area can lead to complications in your eyes, kidneys, heart, and pretty much every other vital organ.

Once again, it is antioxidants to the rescue, as research suggests that beetroot juice is good for diabetes because when you consume beetroot you can reduce the risk of complications including:

  • kidney disease and kidney stones

  • cardiovascular disease

  • retinopathy

  • diabetic foot disease and neuropathy

  • nerve damage

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the metabolites that are found in high concentrations of beets and beet juice can have an impact on reducing a person's insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance.

In a placebo-controlled study along with healthy volunteers, obese patients who drank concurrent beet juice along with carbohydrate ingestion demonstrated a much lower insulin resistance compared to the non-obese patients who did the same along with high dietary nitrate foods.

As we know, a resistance to insulin is the number one problem for people with diabetes, so if beetroot juice can have a positive impact by improving the way in which your body is able to handle insulin and use it, then that is only ever going to be a positive more when it comes things like blood pressure, blood sugar, early phase insulin response, improving blood circulation, heart disease, and various other related medical conditions.

Lower Blood Pressure Levels

High blood pressure a common complication in diabetes patients. Thankfully, research has suggested that if you consume beetroot on a regular basis, it can actively help with the sustained lowering of blood pressure.

The American Diabetes Association revealed that a 2013 study discovered that hypertensive patients experienced a significant drop in blood pressure after just one cup of consumed beet juice.

The antioxidants in beetroot are plant compounds like alpha lipoic acid, betanin and vulgaxanthin and also inorganic nitrates(nitric oxide). Any source of inorganic nitrate is particularly associated with sustained blood pressure lowering.

Beets are a great form of dietary nitrate, and we need dietary nitrate supplementation along with essential nutrients for the maximum benefits to enable our vessels to work properly and our blood circulation to be improved.

Ways To Include Beets In Your Diet

If you have diabetes, you have probably already made the commitment to improve exercise performance, reduce sugar levels, and improve insulin sensitivity. Adding beets and beetroot juice to your diet is a simple way to add to the battle for better blood sugar levels and improving blood flow.

People with diabetes should already be eating plenty of green vegetables, non-starchy vegetables and dietary fibre. All of these are good for diabetes in the sense that they help to regulate blood pressure and reduce high blood sugar levels, and when you eat beets, it will only help in the fight against some of the harmful effects of diabetes.

Some of the easiest ways that people can eat beetroot and add beets to their everyday eating routine include:

  • Cutting slices or shaving raw ribbons into salads to get an extra pop of colour and crunch with ingredients like bell peppers.

  • Steaming beets with other vegetables to make a healthy, delicious side dish for a meal.

  • Roasting beets in the oven and then slicing them up to add to salads with a touch of olive oil.

  • Juicing them up and experimenting with smoothies that include other kinds of fruits and vegetables together. Smoothies can be a great way to increase your amount of vitamin c and dietary fiber.

This should have answered the question "are beets good for you". If you are a diabetic, when you eat more beetroot, good health will follow.

Beets help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate your blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Eat beetroot raw or drink beet juice for maximum benefits.

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