The ‘superfood’ label is used too easily these days but beetroot is a worthy contender. Packed with goodness beetroots offer many health benefits that have been recognised for hundreds of years. The root contains fibre, folate, copper, iron and magnesium amongst others while the greens are packed with plenty of nutrients from vitamin A, K, E and C to B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, iron and copper. Beetroot is ideal for anyone looking to support their skin, energy, gut health and immune function. In recent years research has also found beetroot to be beneficial for more some specific areas of health:
- Heart health
Beetroot contains good levels of both potassium and folate, which support a healthy heart. Folate helps to breakdown homocysteine, high levels of which are linked with poor cardiovascular health, while potassium is important for those suffering with high blood pressure. Beetroot also contains high levels of nitrates, which is also helps to lower blood pressure by relaxing and dilating blood vessels. In 2013 a review of 16 trials found daily consumption of nitrates and beetroot juice caused a significant drop in systolic blood pressure while another review found including nitrates in the diet was a good way for people with high blood pressure with support their heart health.
2. Liver love
If you’re feeling in need of a detox, then make sure you include beetroot in your plan. Beetroot supports bile production and the clearance of toxins from the body – it contains compounds such as glutamine and betanin which may have liver-protective and anti-cancer properties as they help enzymes to clear toxins like heavy metals, bacterial toxins and a number of xeonbiotics (foreign compounds) that work their way into our bodies through pollution, chargrilled food, tap water and food packaging.
3. Sporting performance
Smashing your personal best may be just a glug of beetroot juice away! Due to its nitrate levels, research has shown that beetroot may enhance exercise tolerance and performance particularly in endurance training, again by supporting heart function.
And with so many delicious and easy ways to enjoy it what’s not to love?! Here is an easy recipe for you to try:
WARM BEETROOT SALAD WITH YUZU DRESSING
Golden beetroot is a lovely colourful addition and in season at the moment, but don’t worry if you can’t find it, it will still be vibrant and delicious with the readily found red beetroot and juicy oranges. Try to buy beetroot with the tops still on, which you can in most farmers markets and supermarkets. The tops are really nutritious and tasty too!
For the salad
2 medium red beetroot
2 medium golden beetroot
1 tsp no-taste coconut oil (I like cuisine by Biona) or unrefined rapeseed oil
1 orange, de-skinned and sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
For the yuzu dressing
2 tbsp frozen yuzu (this is a Japanese citrus fruit found in speciality stores. If you can’t find it you can replace with the juice of 1 lemon + the zest of ½ )
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
Unrefined sea salt to taste
- Start with roasting your beetroot; I use a large cast iron casserole dish with the top on. First rub the beetroot with a tsp of coconut oil, and roast for 50 minutes at 210°C. You could also wrap them in parchment paper before roasting if you do not have a casserole dish. If you are using golden beetroot, make sure that they are cooked through. To check if they’re done, the skin should peel off easily, if it doesn’t then put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so… otherwise they may oxidise and turn an ugly brown color!
- While the beetroot is roasting place all of the yuzu dressing ingredients in a blender and blend.
- Cut the skin off the oranges starting with the top and bottom and then down the sides, then slice in to rounds, removing the pips as you go. Set aside.
- Peel and slice the avocado lengthways and set aside.
- Remove the beetroot from the oven and let cool just enough to peel. Peel the skin off, cut off the ends and slice in to thin rounds
- You can make either individual plates or a large platter for the salad. It’s delicious as it is but I also love it on a base of baby spinach or even wild rocket
- Place the beetroot rounds on your plate, and layer the citrus rounds and avocado on top. Drizzle the dressing all over and serve.
Come back next week for part 2.
Written and photography by Fig & Bloom. They are Stephanie Ridley, Dorothy Barrick and Caroline Flower. Stephanie is a BANT and CNCH registered nutritional therapist with a degree in nutrition, Dorothy is a holistic chef and recipe developer and Caroline is an ex-food buyer and management consultant. They combine science-based nutrition and delicious food to help their clients to eat better to feel better and to improve their long term health and wellbeing. They offer private consultations, bespoke meal plans and recipes, group workshops and workplace talks. They also work with food and drink brands and businesses providing nutritional analysis and claims, nutrition research and content, recipe development and food photography.