Evolving from the wild seabeet, which was first cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, beetroots are now among the hottest foods on everyone’s organic food chart.
The right beets for you
Members of the Chenopodiaceous family, beetroots are found along the coasts from India to Britain. A versatile vegetable, if there ever was one, beetroots are hailed for their richness in minerals, vitamins and nutrients. A great source of carotenoids and lutein/zeaxanthin, beetroots are also known as sources of dietary fibre, folic acid, Vitamin C, iron, potassium, manganese, zinc, copper, and magnesium. If that isn’t enough, here’s some more: beets are low in calories and yet are the sweetest vegetables in the market. So much so, they’re even occasionally used to make refined sugar.
Beetroot and its health benefits
Stronger heart: Beet fibres reduce cholesterol and triglycerides by promoting higher levels of HDL, which aids in fighting heart diseases. Beetroots also contain betaine that helps reduce levels of homocysteine, which may increase the risk of strokes and heart diseases.
Breathe freely: This Vitamin C-rich vegetable helps prevent symptoms of asthma.
Healthy babies: Beetroot is a great supplement during the pregnancy period. Folic acid, the most abundant nutrient in beetroots, is crucial in the proper foetal development during pregnancy, and the development of the infant’s spinal column.
Prevent anaemia: Iron in the beetroot increases the production of blood and haemoglobin levels in the body, thus preventing and curing severe anaemia.
Happier you: The betaine contained in the beetroot enhances the production of the body’s natural mood lifter, seratonin, and can help you cheer up. Really!
Stronger immune system: Beetroots pack a punch with the vitamins and nutrients stored within. They boost the body’s immune system and help fight off infection. They also aid in stimulating the reoxygenation of cells and the production of new blood cells.
Beta-carotene goodness: The beta-carotene abundance in beets helps avoid macular degeneration and prevents age-related blindness, known as cataract.
Cure for hangover hell: The pigment that gives beetroot its rich red colour, beta-cyanin, is an oxidant that accelerates detoxification in the liver and converts alcohol into a substance that can be eliminated more easily. So the next time you’re ready to vow never to drink again after a binge session, hold off till you’re a beetroot down.
Word of caution
* Though not a frequent occurrence, beetroots may cause red colour in urine or stool, known as beeturia.
* Since an increased consumption of beets also means an increased intake of fibre, it may cause bloating, gas or diarrhoea.
* Beets can contain up to nearly 14g of sugar in one cup, so patients with blood sugar problems may seek medical supervision.
Quite like everything else in life, even beetroots require moderation. Small concerns apart, you can’t deny all the reasons to welcome this lush vegetable into your kitchen. Use it for salads, soups, juices, dips, or even in cakes! The choices are endless, and your reasons to hold out, too few