Hailed as a superfood, the humble beetroot (also known as beet) is a little treasure trove of health affirming goodness.
It seems that a lot of people never venture further than pickled beetroot – not realising that there is a whole culinary beetroot world out there waiting to be discovered.
Beets come in different colours (like white and orange), although they are most commonly known for their deep reddish/purple colour. The unique, earthy tap roots are the part that people most often eat, yet it is useful to know that the green leaves are totally edible and filled with beneficial nutrients too.
In this article I am going to explore some of the most celebrated health benefits of this wonderful plant food.
Health benefits of beetroot…
1. Helps to lower blood pressure
Studies suggest that people with high blood pressure (hypertension) show a significant decrease in blood pressure after drinking beetroot juice. Experts report that the nitrates present in beetroot may cause the blood pressure to decrease. The nitrates convert to nitric oxide – which increases oxygen in the blood – and subsequently helps to relax the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow with greater ease.
2. Rich in essential nutrients
Beetroot is high in:
- Folate (folic acid/B9) – essential for DNA synthesis and repair
- Manganese – for skin & bone health; blood sugar management; protection against free-radicals
- Potassium – helpful for blood pressure regulation and kidney health
- Vitamin C – powerful anti-oxidant; helpful for wound healing; blood sugar regulator
- Beetroot also has good levels of zinc, iron and copper for maintaining general healthy body function.
3. Anti-cancer benefits
Encouraging studies on human tumor cells show that the betanin pigment from beetroot can reduce tumor growth in colon, stomach, nerve, breast and testicular tissues.
4. Supports healthy liver function
Betanin helps to protect the liver by preventing the build up of fatty deposits, encouraging bile stimulation and acting as a powerful anti-oxidant. It is said to help the liver get rid of toxins, supporting its natural function as an organ of detoxification, helping to eliminate harmful substances from the body.
5. Helps energy levels and physical endurance
A fascinating study on the effect of nitrate from beetroot juice found that people who drank the juice showed a significant increase in physical tolerance and stamina.
6. Super anti-oxidant properties
Beetroot is high in glutathione, polyphenols and betalains, which all have excellent anti-oxidant properties. Anti-oxidants play a key role in prevention of most chronic diseases, due to their ability to counteract the effects of free radical damage on human tissue.
How to use beetroot
One of my favourite ways to consume beetroot is raw, in salad.
You can grate it in and mix with other delicious vegetables. Works a real treat with herbs and a healthy salad dressing.
The ‘Look After Yourself Kale Wrap‘ is an excellent example of how you can mix beetroot into a salad for an amazingly healthy lunch time meal.
Beetroot juice is the perfect way to get a quick infusion of this super-health-filled-food.
Add in a few other nutritious gems and you have a marriage made in heaven. There are lots of combinations (the limit is your imagination). I enjoy it with greens, celery and ginger. For more beet juice scroll down too.
Here’s a delicious recipe for my ‘Beet-iful Mint Juice‘ version.
Red beetroot makes for an impressive, deep, colourful dish, however you make it.
I enjoy it as a blended medley in a soup or a stew.
For a deliciously nurturing cooked dish check out my ‘Beetroot Soup’ recipe.
Baked Sweet Peppers Stuffed with beetroot & sunflower seeds
A delicious way to use beets! I’ve created a video here to show you this tasty recipe.
More delicious beetroot recipes…
…and because I LOVE beet juice!
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