In a world where healthy eating has become a focal point of our daily lives, "superfoods" has carved a prominent niche. Superfoods have become a cornerstone of modern dietary trends, often celebrated for their exceptional nutritional value and potential health benefits. From kale, blueberries, and green tea to quinoa and chia seeds, superfoods have taken center stage in the quest for optimal well-being.
However, the realm of superfoods is continually evolving, unveiling new, exciting combinations that promise even more significant health advantages. One such dynamic duo is beetroot and medicinal mushrooms, a superfood combo gaining traction in recent years. The combination of beetroot, in its various forms, with the potency of medicinal mushrooms has piqued the interest of health-conscious individuals seeking to elevate their nutritional intake.
Discovering the Healing Harmony of Beetroot and Medicinal Mushrooms
Beetroot, a root vegetable celebrated for its rich vitamin and mineral content, boosts heart health, regulates blood pressure, and enhances athletic performance. On the other hand, medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps and Lion's Mane have garnered attention for their diverse range of health benefits, which include immune system support, exercise improvement, antioxidant properties, and cognitive enhancement.
By integrating the nutritional prowess of beetroot with the medicinal properties of mushrooms, this superfood combo promises a synergistic blend that may offer myriad health advantages. Prepare to embark on a journey that explores the synergy of these natural wonders and how their union can revolutionize your approach to nutrition and well-being.
Beetroot Benefits for Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that consuming beetroot may improve blood vessel relaxation and reduce human blood pressure . Research shows that beetroot's blood pressure-lowering function is linked to its dietary nitrate content . Bacterial anaerobes in the mouth convert dietary nitrate from beetroot into nitrite, which has blood vessel-protecting effects .
Additionally, while beetroot consumption has reduced blood pressure in healthy subjects, it was even more effective when combined with moderate-intensity aerobic exercise in obese individuals .
Beetroot and Blood Sugar Control
Research suggests that the compounds found in beetroot, including betalains, polyphenols, and dietary nitrate, may be beneficial for treating high blood sugar . A study on healthy volunteers found that beetroot intake significantly reduced post-meal insulin response in the 0–60-minute phase, alongside the glucose response in the 0–30-minute phase .
The significant reduction in the post-meal insulin and glucose response is essential for health due to its potential implications for managing blood sugar levels. When the insulin and glucose responses are more controlled and balanced after a meal, it can contribute to better blood sugar regulation. This, in turn, may be beneficial for individuals in managing conditions like type 2 diabetes or preventing sudden spikes and crashes in blood sugar.
Further research involving a diabetic rat model showed that oral treatment with betanin, a beetroot compound, increased glycolytic enzyme activity and decreased gluconeogenic enzyme activity . This restored plasma glucose, insulin, glycosylated hemoglobin levels in diabetic rats .
In simpler terms, the research found that giving diabetic rats betanin improved their blood sugar control. This was achieved by increasing the activity of enzymes that help break down sugars and reducing the activity of enzymes that produce sugar in the body. As a result, the diabetic rats had healthier blood sugar levels, insulin, glycosylated hemoglobin (a marker of long-term blood sugar control), and hemoglobin.
Beetroot for Heart Health
Beetroot intake has also been found to be beneficial for treating high cholesterol. Betalains in beetroot may help by reducing the harmful effects of certain substances in your blood that can clog your arteries and increase your cholesterol . Studies have even found that when beetroot is given to animals with high levels of fat in their blood, it can lower their blood sugar, reduce the risk of clogged arteries, and help maintain a healthy weight .
Beetroot intake also inhibits short-chain fatty acids and reduces serum total fat due to increased bile acid excretion . In obese individuals, the consumption of beetroot juice or slices effectively inhibits the oxidation metabolism of neutrophils, leading to a reduction in body fat content. These findings suggest that beetroot has potential applications in treating high cholesterol or fat content in the blood.
Beetroot and Exercise Performance
Research on the effects of beetroot supplementation on athletic performance reveals varying outcomes. In studies, it was observed that beetroot intake had positive effects on exercise performance under specific conditions, particularly in short-distance aerobic exercises . However, the effectiveness of beetroot supplementation depends on several factors:
Exercise Type: Beetroot supplementation enhanced performance in short, high-intensity exercises such as sprints.
Oxygen Availability: The benefits of beetroot were most evident under aerobic conditions. It was less effective in exercises with low oxygen levels or anaerobic conditions.
Exercise Intensity: Beetroot enhanced exercise tolerance in severe-intensity exercises with elevated metabolic rate.
Exercise Duration: Short-term supplementation with beetroot improved exercise tolerance in obese subjects and hill walkers.
Research also suggests that supplementation with beetroot can reduce muscle soreness . It was observed that beetroot supplementation helped restore the pressure pain threshold to baseline levels 72 hours after exercise, whereas the placebo group still experienced decreased pain thresholds . The phytonutrients in beetroot and their interaction with nitrate may contribute to this effect.
Moreover, using beetroot during exercise was found to have no adverse effects on the body. Consequently, sports drinks containing beetroot are gaining attention. For example, a sports drink incorporating beetroot extract, creatine, sulfuric acid, and calcium 3‐hydroxy‐3‐methylbutyrate was shown to increase muscle blood flow, enhance oxygen utilization, reduce exercise energy consumption, and ultimately improve exercise performance .
As a result, the application of beetroot products in sports and exercise is likely to be a significant research focus, offering promising opportunities for athletes and fitness enthusiasts seeking natural performance-enhancing solutions.
Antioxidant Superfoods: Antioxidants in Beetroot
Research findings demonstrate that beetroot, rich in antioxidants, offers protective effects against oxidative stress in mice . In the context of liver damage, long-term consumption of beetroot juice prevented systemic liver damage by increasing enzyme activity in both phase I and II . This protection was attributed to the activation of Nrf2, exerting anti-tumor activity .
Additionally, in cases of radiation-induced liver damage, beetroot treatment reduced oxidative stress, inhibited cell death, and decreased CYP450 activity while enhancing glutathione activity, the most potent antioxidant in the body .
Cognitive Function Improvement with Beetroot
It has been speculated that nitric oxide deficiency is linked to cognitive impairment. In various studies, Beetroot, rich in nitrates, has positively impacted cognitive function. In healthy adults, altered prefrontal cortex cerebral blood flow due to nitrate-containing beetroot was associated with cognitive improvement . Similar effects were observed in older people, with high-nitrate beetroot supplementation leading to increased regional cerebral blood flow and enhanced cognition .
Beetroot and Mushrooms: A Natural Remedy
Beetroot and Reishi
Combining beetroot with Reishi mushrooms creates a powerful superfood synergy that holds the potential for immunity enhancement and stress management. Beetroot's rich nitrate content supports improved blood flow and oxygen delivery to the body, enhancing overall resilience. Combined with Reishi's immune-boosting properties, this duo can fortify the immune system, making it more adept at warding off illnesses and combating stress-related imbalances.
Beetroot and Chaga Antioxidants
Incorporating Chaga alongside beetroot is a beneficial strategy to amplify antioxidant activities in the body. Beetroot, with its abundance of vitamins and minerals, is already an antioxidant powerhouse. However, adding Chaga, known for its exceptional antioxidant-rich compounds, can create a dynamic antioxidant synergy. This combo enhances the body's ability to neutralize harmful free radicals and supports cellular health and longevity.
Beetroot and Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Fusing beetroot and Lion's Mane mushrooms can boost cognitive function. Beetroot's high nitrate content can enhance blood flow to the brain, improving cognitive abilities, while Lion's Mane is revered for its neurotrophic effects that promote neural growth and repair. Together, they create a cognitive powerhouse, potentially enhancing memory, focus, and overall brain health.
Beetroot and Cordyceps Mushroom
When paired with Cordyceps, Beetroot can be a game-changer for exercise enthusiasts and athletes. Beetroot's ability to improve oxygen utilization and endurance is complemented by Cordyceps' capacity to boost energy and enhance physical performance. This combination can improve exercise performance and stamina, making it a compelling choice for those looking to elevate their physical capabilities and endurance levels.
Cooking with Beetroot and Medicinal Mushrooms
Now that we've explored the potential benefits of combining beetroot with medicinal mushrooms let's dive into some creative ways to incorporate these superfoods into your daily meals. Whether you prefer the earthy flavours of mushroom extract powders or the vibrant hues of beetroot, there are numerous delicious and nutritious options to choose from:
Beetroot Smoothie Ideas: Start your day with a nutritious superfood smoothie. Blend beetroot juice or beetroot powder with Reishi or Lion's Mane mushroom extract powder. Add a banana, spinach, Greek yogurt, and a drizzle of honey for a satisfying and energizing breakfast.
Vibrant Beetroot Hummus: Try this seamless beetroot powder recipe. Whip up a colourful beetroot hummus by combining beetroot powder with your favourite hummus recipe. To enhance the earthy flavour, stir in Chaga mushroom extract powder. Serve with pita bread or vegetable sticks for a healthy snack.
Energizing Mushroom Coffee: Boost your morning coffee routine with a twist. Mix a small amount of Cordyceps mushroom extract powder with your coffee grounds for a refreshing cup of mushroom-infused coffee. Combine this with a beetroot juice or powder splash for a unique, earthy flavour.
Nutrient-Packed Soup: Enhance the nutritional value of your soups by adding a teaspoon of beetroot powder and a pinch of Reishi mushroom extract powder. These ingredients impart a delightful flavour and infuse your soup with immune-boosting and stress-relieving properties.
Beetroot and Mushroom Salad: Create a vibrant and healthy salad by tossing together sliced beetroot with a sprinkle of Chaga mushroom extract powder. Top it with fresh greens, crumbled feta cheese, and a light balsamic vinaigrette dressing for a delightful combination of flavours.
Pre-Workout Smoothie: If you're gearing up for a workout, blend beetroot juice with Cordyceps mushroom extract powder. This dynamic duo can help enhance your endurance and energy levels, giving you the extra push you need for an effective exercise session.
Mashed Beetroot with a Mushroom Twist: Mash together cooked beetroot with a hint of Lion's Mane mushroom extract powder for a unique side dish. The mushroom's neurotrophic effects and the beetroot's rich colour make this a visually appealing and brain-boosting addition to your meals.
Incorporating mushroom extracts with beetroot is a versatile and exciting way to make the most of these superfoods. Experiment with these ideas to find the combinations that tickle your taste buds and provide the desired health benefits. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to get creative in your culinary adventures!
Beetroot and Medicinal Mushrooms Benefits
Integrating the dynamic duo of beetroot and medicinal mushrooms into your diet is a culinary adventure and a journey toward improved health and well-being. The potential benefits of this superfood combination, from enhanced immunity and stress management to improved antioxidant activities, cognitive function, and exercise performance, are both enticing and scientifically supported.
These superfoods offer a remarkable fusion of flavours and nutrition, encouraging you to explore a new world of culinary possibilities. So, as you embark on your quest for a healthier, more vibrant life, remember to harness the incredible potential of beetroot and medicinal mushrooms. Whether you're sipping a morning smoothie, savouring a nutrient-packed salad, or energizing your workout routine, these superfoods can be your allies in promoting holistic health. Cheers to your journey of health and vitality through the magic of beetroot and medicinal mushrooms!
 Chen L, Zhu Y, Hu Z, Wu S, Jin C. Beetroot as a functional food with huge health benefits: Antioxidant, antitumor, physical function, and chronic metabolomics activity. Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Sep 9;9(11):6406-6420. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.2577. PMID: 34760270; PMCID: PMC8565237.