Are you looking for a food that tastes great and yet has a whole host of health benefits? Try one of nature’s superfoods – beetroot!
Beetroot is heart-healthy as it contains soluble fibre, which can help to reduce high levels of cholesterol in the blood. It also contains carotenoids and flavenoids, which help to stop LDL or bad cholesterol from oxidising and being deposited in the arteries. It also helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Beetroot also increases the uptake of oxygen in the body by up to 400 percent.
Beetroot contains folate, potassium, silica and manganese. The green, leafy tops of beetroot are also edible and these contain calcium, beta carotene and iron, as well as carotenoids. Carotenoids are anti oxidants and thus help to prevent damage in the body caused by free radicals. The red pigment in beetroot, called betacyanin, is believed to contain certain anti-cancer agents and it has been used in the treatment of cancer for some years. However, this is yet to be conclusively scientifically proven. Folate is important in the body as it helps to protect unborn babies from spina bifida. It also protects you against high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia, and folate is thought to lower homocysteine levels in the blood. Potassium helps you to maintain normal nerve function and blood pressure. Silica is important in the body as it helps the body to utilise calcium, therefore making it important for musculo-skeletal health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Beetroot is also very low in fat and calories, and has a low glycaemic load, meaning that it is slowly converted into sugar and thus keeping blood sugar levels stable. Beetroot can be eaten raw or cooked, as it does not lose any of its nutritional value when cooked, unlike many other vegetables. Pickling it, however, will result in it losing almost half of its nutritional value.