Is beetroot part of your balanced diet? If not, it should be!
Beetroot is one of those foods that has come to the forefront of nutrition in recent years, and for a good reason, beetroot can lower blood pressure, has cancer fighting properties, is packed full of anti-oxidants and has been hailed the new sports supper juice!
Beet bulbs are not much bigger than a small onion, they have a stock of leafy greens attached, and theses leafy greens are crammed full of calcium, vitamins A + C and iron. The beetroot bulb itself is packed full of folic acid, fibre and potassium, thus making this vegetable ideal for improving bowel functions and lowering the bodies cholesterol levels.
Beet the Hypertension
A lesser known health benefit of fresh beetroot is its ability to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Beetroot is packed full of Inorganic Nitrate, when we consume beetroot the Inorganic Nitrate converts into Nitric Oxide, this process dilates and relaxes blood vessels.
One glass of fresh beetroot juice per day could significantly reduce the effects of hypersensitivity reducing your blood pressure in a natural way.
Beetroot and Athletic Performance
Beetroot is very popular with athletes, with its ability to increase the size of your blood vessels thus leading to and increased flow of oxygen.
It is recommended to drink 300ml to 500ml of beetroot juice 2-3 hours prior to a sporting activity, to help performance by up to 2-3%.
Cancer Fighting Properties
Beetroot contains a compound called Betacyanin this aids cell respiration and reduces the growth of cancer cells within the body.
How to Consume Beetroot
You can grate beetroot into a salad, steam chopped beetroot and serve on the side of any meal, avoid over cooking as this may damage the vital nutrients. Fresh beetroot with its stalks removed will last up to 4 days in the fridge, make sure when you purchase your beets, they have the greens attached, and they are firm, smooth and red/purple in colour.
To increase your consumption of beetroot juice I would recommend juicing the beetroot. Three to four bulbs will give you 300-500ml of fresh juice. Sip this through a straw to avoid the temporary red staining of your beautiful white teeth! You can add celery, carrot, lemon or lime to your juice to enhance the flavour.
The Negative Side Effects
With all those positive side effects of consuming beetroot, it’s hard to believe there would be any negatives, however if you consume a lot of beetroot juice, you may notice a pink red tinge to your urine and stools, this is completely harmless however can be alarming if you aren’t aware that this is due to the betalain pigment.
If you suffer from low blood pressure, high levels of beetroot juice are not recommended due to the blood pressure lowering affects; this may make your condition worse.
As always please consult your GP before making changes to your diet.