Food · Health · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Fruit and Veg A-Z: B is for Beetroot.

Pancake day yesterday and I took the challenge to get as many portions into mine as possible, we had spinach and ricotta pancakes in a tomato sauce, with sweet potato wedges and a big salad, it was delicious! Total portions for the day: 7. Pretty good but needs work!

So to the letter B. I was pretty sure all along I would be doing broccoli. I LOVE BROCCOLI, the baby loves broccoli,  we have it with everything in this house! But then I remember beetroot. The beautiful, versatile, exciting, underrated root vegetable.

First thing she first, piece of Mummy advice. Only give baby beetroot soup if you are planning on it being bath time straight after! And when nappy time happens the next day, don’t forget what they’ve eaten and start panicking!

I grew up on pickled beetroot from a jar, I loved it! In fact I think I once ate so much I threw up pink but that’s not a story for now…… My partner isn’t really into pickled veg so I’ve had to find new ways to enjoy getting the root into us. And there are plenty.

There are several different forms beetroot comes in. Like I already said, pickled and in a jar. Cooked in a vacuum pack. Or whole and raw.

Pickled beetroot is pretty easy to deal with. Open jar, remove required amount, eat with what ever you please. The vacuum packed stuff is fairly similar, though doesn’t have the strong vinegar taste, requires chopping and has quite a short shelf life once open. They as fab for in salads!

Whole beetroots may seem tricky but they’re really not. First thing to do is it slice off the top where the leave grow out. The leaves can be eaten if you fancy. Then stand it on a chopping board, freshly cut side down, and using a sharp but fairly small knife carefully slice away the rest of the skin and discard. WARNING you will get pink fingers but that’s part of the fun. Make sure you wipe your chopping board before putting the skinned beetroot on it a short the skin may have had some soil on it and you won’t want to eat that. Your beetroot is now ready for using.

A few cooking options include:

Grating and eating raw with a salad.

Popping in a soup. (Why not serve pink soup at a dinner party?)

Chopping small and  throwing in a stir fry.

Juiced or smoothie.

Or my fave, ROASTING. Roast beetroot has a beautiful, sweet flavour whilst still keeping that lovely earthy taste (NB, I don’t mean it tastes like earth!)

Health benefits: (taken from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/25/beets-health-benefits.aspx)

1. Lower Your Blood Pressure

Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points.3

The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

2. Boost Your Stamina

If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer.4 The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.

3. Fight Inflammation

Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.5 As reported by the World’s Healthiest Foods:6

“[Betaine’s]… presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”

4. Anti-Cancer Properties

The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.7

5. Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber

Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

6. Detoxification Support

The betalin pigments in beets support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.

I not going to put a recipe here today, there are too many to choose from, I’m just going to reiterate what I said earlier. ROAST BEETROOT IS AMAZING, trust me.

 

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