Until A few years ago I thought of beetroot as a lovely addition to salads and on the side of a ploughman’s lunch. My exposure, I’m sorry to say, was somewhat limited to the cooked and pickled variety. Then I became interested in them as a vegetable to grow them in my garden and a whole world was opened up to me with the knowledge of all the different types that are available. I also learnt about the significant health benefits of this vegetable and how to make delicious juices from it.
Vegetable juices are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are a great for juicing on a daily basis and as part of a cleanse as they contain less sugars. Beetroot is known for it’s ability to promote heart health and blood flow, helping to lower blood pressure and forms a natural approach to reducing the risk of heart disease. Beetroot contains many vitamins and essential minerals – potassium, magnesium, iron, Vitamin A, B6, Vitamin C, folks acid, carbohydrates, protein, powerful antioxidants (from the Betacyanin which gives it it’s colour) and soluble fibre.
The key element which supports heart function are the nitrates found in beetroot which open up the blood vessels and may help to lower blood pressure and stop platelets from being sticky. UK Research from a 2010 study suggested that it can help to prevent blockages which lead to stroke and heart attacks.
Beetroot has one of the richest sources of glutamine, an amino acid, which can help the health and maintenance of the intestinal tract. It has also been shown to have a positive effect during exercise increasing stamina enabling the muscles to work harder.
Beetroot belongs to the same family as chard and spinach, both the root and leaves can be eaten. The leaves when young and can be added to salads, mature leaves can be steamed like other greens. Eating them raw or preferably juicing provides a greater quantity of nitrates than cooking as the cooking process deteriorates the nutrients, however, they are still good for you.
According to love beetroot.co.uk a daily amount of 250ml juice or 1-2 can help to lower blood pressure. The juice can also help to detoxify the blood and flush toxins our of the body supporting your liver.
Beetroots come in many different varieties, in addition to the red ones we are perhaps most familiar with. They also come in golden, white and stripy varieties. I think there is a world of difference between shop bought ones and those you grown yourself. They are easy to grow if you have some space or I would recommend to buy them from a farmers’ market so that they are fresh as possible and you’ll also have the opportunity to try some of the local varieties.