This month our focus is on the humble beetroot. We have recently seen it appearing in a number of colours – yellow, white, orange and it’s traditional beetroot red. There have been teeny-weeny ones on micro-meals in posh restaurants with a few tiny stalks left on, baby ones in all colours which have been boiled and then roasted and drizzled with walnut oil and accompanied with candied walnuts. Red beetroot has continued to be used as a colourful base and to brighten up many a dull
We have compiled some info on the website to shout out about the benefits of the beet.
According to Wikipedia and Herbwisdom.com, beetroot, being a root vegetable which grows primarily in the ground with a leafy top growth, can be found in both temperate and tropical areas of the world. It takes approximately 60 days from seed to harvest. Beets have been cultivated for thousands of years for their dietary value. Recent studies have indicated that consuming beetroot juice can improve certain health conditions and can also improve oxygenation during athletic activities. Though the full health effects of beetroot are not yet known, many health experts recommend consuming beetroot or beetroot herbal for a nutritional boost.
Health Benefits of Beetroot
Beetroot also improves blood flow to the brain and can slow the progress of dementia. Beetroot has a number of nutrients that are important for general health. Beetroot also contains potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and dietary nitrate. Potassium lowers heart rate and regulates metabolism. Sodium and magnesium help with proper fluid levels within the body. The dietary nitrate in beetroot is linked to lower blood pressure and a reduced incidence of heart disease. Beetroot is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and iron. Vitamin A is important for mucous membrane, healthy skin and good vision. Vitamin C boosts the immune system. Iron is an important mineral for red blood cell production in the body. Beetroot also contains folates that aid DNA synthesis within the cells. The fiber in beetroot helps to slow down its conversion into glucose, which makes it a good food for those with Type-2 diabetes. The fibre can also help to reduce cholesterol. The nitrates in beetroot also widen blood vessels for better exercise and athletic performance. Beetroot also contains silica, which helps to strengthen bones and hair, as well as to maintain good skin condition.
Beetroot Active Ingredients
Beetroot contains phytonutrient pigments called betalains. Two types of betalain compounds, betalin and vulgaxanthin, are high in anti-oxidants and also have anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds also help with detoxification of the body. These betalain compounds can suppress cyclooxygenase enzymes, which can contribute to tumor growth. The beet greens also contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to keep eyes healthy. The epoxy xanthophyll carotenoids in beetroot help support the body’s nervous system, as well. Beetroot also contains trace amounts of amino acids, which help to build proteins in the body.
All parts of the beetroot can be consumed. The leaf tops can be put into salads or sautéed in olive oil. The leaves should be fresh and crisp for best taste and nutrient value. The root can be eaten raw or cooked. Beetroot can be processed into a flavourful juice. Adding a little lemon juice to the beet juice will improve flavour and colouring of the juice.
So many reasons to stick with the Beet!