" I hear beetroot's the new super food and helps to clean the blood.  Can you tell me more?"

Beetroot has been used for thousands of years to treat ailments, noteably, fevers, constipation, wounds and skin ailments and also illness relating to digestion and blood.  It hasn't really popped up as the latest superfood, it has always floated around as one.  I remember at school some 15 years ago, someone telling me that beetroot was great for the blood.

The Romans have been using it for centuries as an aphrodisiac,

Beetroot is wonderful for the liver and the kidneys - our two major blood filtering systems.  Betaine is the phytochemical in Beetroot.  A 2004 paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discusses Betaine as being an "important nutrient for the prevention of chronic disease" and has been shown to "protect internal organs".  Let's face it, the blood that goes through your liver delivers nutrition to your entire body - so if you're supporting the organs, then you'll have good nutritious blood, and what better way to support the organs, than with great food like Beetroot!

A research paper in the journal Hypertension has shown beetroot juice to lower blood pressure quite rapidly.  Combine that with a bit of exercise, a balanced healthy diet and you can certainly look at throwing away your synthetic blood pressure medication.  Beetroot also lowers cholesterol.

Research on sports performance has shown that beetroot juice also enhances stamina.  In the 16th Century doctors used it to treat anaemia and fatigue.

Amongst other things beetroot (or more specifically betaine) can reduce cancer cells multiplying, helps the hormonal system deal with depression, and assists in producing serotonin and dopamine.

The fact that clinical research supports the use of beetroot for preventing chronic disease excites me.  Many people are reluctant to look at ‘superfoods' in place of, or in additional to their conventional medicines, and see such treatment as airy fairy natural health stuff.   But beetroot, being supported by medical research adds fuel to the fire of its legitimacy.

One beetroot only has around 40-50 calories (depending on the size) and is a great source of Folate, all electrolytes and Vitamin C and a good source of Iron and Zinc.  1 beetroot also provides 200ml of water and 4g of fibre, which makes it great for digestive health along with its other properties.  The 13g of carbohydrate in Beetroot is medium GI with a low GL, so it's a great carbohydrate addition to a weight loss diet.

Beetroot can be juiced with other fruits (I quite like carrot, beetroot, ginger and grapefruit), it can be powdered and added to smoothies or other dishes.  I've been adding the powder to my ground rice porridge in the morning!  And of course there's tinned beetroot, beetroot dips and relishes and lovely roasted beetroot.  However you like to have it - eat lots of it, it's so good for you!

For some great beetroot recipes, check out this website: http://www.lovebeetroot.co.uk/recipes/

2 December 10

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