- Diet & Weight Loss
Beetroot Health Benefits
Beetroot (or Beets, in U.S.A) is one of those foods - You either love it or hate it.
Even if you hate it, you should try to use it somewhere in your diet, as just like the nasty-tasting medicines, the numerous beetroot health benefits make it worth doing.
It's content of Betacyanin is what gives beetroot it's vibrant red colour, and is very powerful in the fight against cancer, particularly of the colon.
Sliced Beetroot Cooked
Beetroot Health Benefits
Beetroot is also helpful in liver function, producing antioxidants to fight free radicals in the liver, and protecting liver cells.
It also helps in cleansing the kidneys, spleen, and gall bladder.
Beetroot is known to be an enemy of Colon cancer. Also the compounds that cause stomach cancer, which come from chemicals called nitrates (often used as a preservative in processed meat) find a powerful enemy in beetroot, especially in juice form. Beetroot juice has been found to inhibit the mutation of cancer cells.
Beetroot is an important aid against heart disease, helping to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels significantly, as well as raising HDL levels ('good' cholesterol)
Betaine in beetroot (also in spinach and whole wheat) is helpful as an anti-inflammatory. It has been shown to be beneficial in osteoporosis as well as heart disease, and also in cases of Alzheimer's and diabetes type 2.
Rich in vitamin B folate, beetroot promotes tissue growth. Folate-rich fruits are recommended during pregnancy, especially helping in the development of the baby's spinal column. Underdeveloped, will result in the condition 'neural tube defect'. Folate also helps prevent spina bifida. A large glass of pure beetroot juice will provide the daily requirement of folate.
A rich source of carbohydrate, and protein, as well as vitamins minerals and nutrients, very low in calories, and fat-free, beetroot does have a high sugar content, but a very low glycaemic load (GL). This means the sugar conversion is very slow, therefore helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, and causes no harm.
The belief that beetroot helps in anaemia, is false. This is thought to have come from the fact that it's red in colour, but it doesn't have a particularly high iron content, which is what would be needed to fight anaemia. It does contain some iron however, and is helpful in blood building.
Beetroots can be eaten raw, crunchy and tasty, or boiled soft and sweet, or pickled tart and spicy.
Raw beetroot grated into salads is one option for those who are not particularly fond of the taste. Raw, mixes particularly well with cheese.
Boiled and liquidised, together with the water it's boiled in, makes a healthy juice which can be added to fruit juices, to camouflage the taste without losing any benefits. Beetroot and its juices, when taken regularly, may cause red colouring of urine, but this is entirely harmless, although expected as beetroot is often used as a red dye.
The green leaves of the beetroot also contain beta-carotene and other carotenoids (antioxidants) as well as folate, iron, potassium and vitamin C. The leaves and the stalk are edible and nutritious, and can be added to soups and stews, or chopped and used in stirfry, as well as eaten just boiled or steamed. This is another alternative for those who do not like the taste of the bulb.
When you cut off the bulb from the stalk, leave an inch or so of stalk attached, as this helps prevent the nutrients or the colour from escaping.
A favourite in eastern bloc countries is Borscht, beetroot soup.
For this you would boil beetroot with some onion and vegetable stock, for half an hour to an hour, until vegetables are soft. Traditionally you would then strain the liquid and discard the vegetables, but you can blend or liquidise everything for a thicker soup.
Add the fresh squeezed juice of one lemon, and stir together.
Take one pot of natural unsweetened yoghurt, or crème fraîche, and add three quarters of the contents to the soup, stirring well.
Borscht is traditionally served chilled, but can be eaten warm.
Serve with a drizzle of the remaining yoghurt on the surface.
Whether you love it or hate it, there is no doubting beetroot health benefits. Try to incorporate some into your diet wherever possible. If you're among those who love the taste, eat as much as you like, you're only helping your health.