There’s something about the intensity of the colour of beetroot that fascinates me (perhaps I should get out more, but there you go). Nothing is quite so vividly… vivid.
I often juice up fresh beetroot along with carrots, apples and ginger for a real pick-me-up if I’m feeling lousy, and am astonished, every time, at the outrageous-ness of the vegetable’s hue, and this has got me thinking: seeing as colour is supposed to be an indication of the presence of antioxidants, does that mean beetroot is a super food?
I did a spot of research to see what I could dig up (pun entirely intended).
Firstly, I discovered that inn ancient Greece, beetroots were so highly valued that a beet was offered on a silver platter to Apollo at Delphi (if myths are to be believed, that is). Not exactly the most useful information, but good for a start.
Then I got to the juicy stuff: It seems that these ruby veggies are an excellent source of folic acid, fiber, manganese and potassium. Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its color, also has powerful antioxidant properties as I suspected. (Believe it or not, betacyanin also gives bougainvillea flowers their colour, but do NOT eat those!)
According to scientific studies, beetroots also seem to be great for lowering blood pressure and leading researcher, Professor Amrita Ahluwalia said: “Our research suggests that drinking beetroot juice, or consuming other nitrate-rich vegetables, might be a simple way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, and might also be an additional approach that one could take in the modern day battle against rising blood pressure.”
For exercise junkies, beetroot juice has been found to improve stamina: in this study, eight men drank 500 mls of beetroot juice daily for six days before undergoing a series of cycling-based fitness tests. Results showed that the ones who had been drinking beetroot juice were able to cycle for an average of 92 seconds longer than those that were just given blackcurrant cordial.
Another interesting little factoid is that beetroot can help liver health because it contains the bioactive agent betaine, which supports healthy liver function. A properly functioning liver results in fats being broken down efficiently, which helps weight loss, and prevents fatigue and nausea.
Looks like the beetroot’s wild colour is not the only thing it’s got going for it… I’ve just found a beetroot soup recipe that I’m going to try out over the weekend. I will let you know how it goes and share it here if it’s a goodie!