Most people would agree that one of the most prevalent words in nutrition is superfood. One vegetable that is certainly worthy of this title is the humble beetroot. Well known for its purple-crimson colour, beetroot is a highly nutritious food with many long-recognised health benefits.
The rich, red colour of beetroot is due to pigments called betalains, of which there are two types – betacyanins and betaxanthins. These pigments possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and usually also contain nitrate. Recent studies have found that nitrates in beetroot have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.
The antioxidant compounds found in beetroot are reported to have health promoting properties. Studies have demonstrated beetroot’s ability to increase levels of important antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase, one of the most important antioxidant enzymes.
As well as being a rich source of antioxidants, beetroot also contains good levels of many nutrients, including folic acid, vitamin B6, fibre, manganese, potassium, vitamin C and iron. In fact, beetroot and beetroot juice is a traditional home remedy for iron-deficiency.
Beetroots are also a source of betaine (known as trimethylglycine or TMG), a substance known for its ability to lower homocysteine levels, thereby supporting cardiovascular and cognitive health. The fibre found in beets has also been shown to support healthy cholesterol levels.
The versatile beetroot can be used raw in salads, but is equally delicious roasted or made into soup. It’s become very fashionable to bake with beetroot too – look out for recipes like beetroot cakes and muffins. Using beetroot juice or dried extracts of beetroot are simple ways of getting the benefits of this health-promoting vegetable.
• Cardiovascular Health
• Cancer Fighting
• Antioxidant Rich
• Endurance Sports
Sid sheehan runs nourish by nature cookery school in listowel . Check out their web page, and facebook , twitter