Beetroot 101: Health Benefits Buy Store Recipes
Rich and earthy, beetroot is one of the world’s most popular root vegetables and one of the healthiest foods. These gorgeous purple-red bulbs are packed with a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and compounds, making beets a healthy addition to your diet. No matter how you prepare them, you can juice or blend them into a refreshing drink or smoothie. However, cooking beets can cause nutrient loss like all other vegetables. If you don’t have a juicer or a blender, beet powder is also available – that’s my go-to because it’s super quick and easy.
Beetroot 101 contains nitric oxide, the powerhouse molecule that drives your body forward. It is important not to confuse it with nitrous oxide, aka laughing gas. Inorganic nitrate is found in all plants, including leafy green vegetables like spinach and celery, but beets have the highest amounts. Nitric oxide plays an essential role in your overall physical health by allowing your blood to transport nutrients and oxygen throughout your body efficiently. By controlling blood flow, it also plays a role in immune function and energy levels due to its involvement in mitochondrial function. Nitrates are also a boon for heart health, as they have long been associated with lower resting blood pressure. Increasing your intake of nitrates can slow the cardiovascular aging process, an important marker for your overall heart health.
When you eat or drink beets, bacteria on your tongue, along with other enzymes in your body, convert nitrate ions to nitric oxide, which your body can also produce from arginine, an amino acid your body also produces. Another amino acid called citrulline is converted by your body into arginine. This process, aided by your diet, provides about half the nitric oxide in your body.
Beets and beet juice are not just fantastic sources of nitrates – they also offer a wealth of other essential minerals, including folate, iron, zinc, and magnesium. If increasing nitrate intake can increase nutrient-packed blood flow and oxygen to your muscles, then your body’s performance and response should improve when exercising or competing. Research is still ongoing, with more comprehensive studies needed, but the results so far are highly encouraging.
These studies typically examine results from a single dose of beet juice; however, many have not determined the exact dose of nitrate within the beet juice given to participants. This means that there is little knowledge of the optimum dose for performance. In one study that did determine the nitrate dose, eight men drank half a liter of beet juice a day for six days. Results showed that each subject improved their time to complete exhaustion, despite reduced oxygen consumption – a finding that is consistent with other studies available today.
In another study using water as a control treatment, ten young men were given 70, 140, and 280 milliliters of beet juice while resting, just before moderate and high-intensity cycling exercise. This study showed that plasma nitrate concentration rose corresponding to the dose given, reaching a peak around two to three hours after drinking. Researchers also found that the lowest volume (70 milliliters) did not have any impact on performance, while the higher doses led to lower oxygen consumption and improved performance compared to the control.
Preliminary research on nitrate ingestion, often using beet juice, has demonstrated clear performance benefits – a finding that other studies have supported. Presently, more research is still needed for a clear picture, but for now, studies show encouraging results, particularly with young men of average fitness.
Health Benefits of Beetroot 101:
- 1 Beetroot juice can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. It contains nitrates that form nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow. Drinking just 250 ml of beetroot juice regularly can have a significant effect on blood pressure.
- 2 Beetroot juice is great for increasing stamina. It contains nitrates that improve the oxygen-carrying capacity of your blood vessels, giving your muscles the strength to deal with extra stress during workouts. Studies show that drinking just 2 cups of beet juice can improve trail time for trained cyclists by 12 seconds. It’s a great pre-workout drink that also helps with weight loss, as it has almost no calories. Try it instead of popular breakfast juices like orange or apple juice.
- 3 To achieve glowing skin, makeup, and skin cream won’t cut it. Beetroot juice is a great blood purifier that improves circulation and provides a boost from within. It will make your skin firm and radiant by supplying more blood to it. Beet juice also contains Vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant and helps reduce dark spots, blemishes, and dead cells, making you look younger. Say goodbye to makeup and let your natural blush shine through.
- 4 Beetroot juice is great for your heart health and its positive effects are noticeable much sooner than expected. Within just two hours of drinking a glass of beet juice, people with heart failure experienced a 13% increase in muscle power, which helps pump blood efficiently. Watch a video on “8 Signs Your Body Gives You a Month Before a Heart Attack” before we move on to discussing the nine health benefits of beet juice.
- 5 As you age, your body becomes unable to produce the same amount of nitrates as it did years ago. However, beet juice provides that extra boost your brain needs to remain active and youthful. Studies have shown that consuming beet juice increases blood flow to the frontal lobe, which is associated with memory, judgment, impulse control, and cognition. With more blood in this area, the brain functions like a well-oiled machine.
- 6 Beetroots are one of the few foods known to have cancer-fighting properties. The betalains in beetroots are soluble antioxidants that can destroy unstable cancer cells in the body by scavenging free radicals. While more research is needed in this area, early evidence suggests that beets may be effective against breast cancer and can help prevent cancer of the lung, colon, and liver.
- 7 This veggie juice is a great blood tonic that removes toxins and improves circulation. It’s ideal for people with low hemoglobin and anemia, especially if pregnant. Beetroot’s folate reduces the risk of premature birth and spinal diseases. Adding carrots, celery, apples, and lemons with ginger and mint enhances flavor and nutrients. Blend the ingredients and adjust thickness with less water or add ice for refreshment. This juice contains iron, magnesium, manganese, sodium, zinc, copper, selenium, and potassium, which helps with sore muscles and nerves. Drinking a glass daily can improve strength.
- 8 Detoxify Your Liver: Your liver is crucial for your survival. Bad eating habits and junk food can harm your liver, endangering your life. Drinking beet juice can help remove excess fat from your liver and restore it to its healthy state. Excessive drinking and eating expose your liver to toxic substances, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Betaine, an antioxidant found in beet juice, can prevent this condition and promote liver health.
- 9 High cholesterol can be dangerous, depending on the type. LDL is bad, while HDL is good. Beetroot boosts HDL due to flavonoids but may cause red stool.
- 10 Boost digestion with dietary fiber. Beets are a good source of fiber, containing 3.4 grams per cup. Their fiber and antioxidant content remove toxins, improve digestion, and reduce constipation. Beets also support beneficial microorganisms, strengthening the immune system against illness.
Types of Beetroot 101:
Round Red Beet:
This variety here is Merlin, and I think it’s probably our best round, red beet. It’s a great all-purpose beet that can be used for fresh eating, pickling, and greens. It has a smaller top with good disease resistance and really nice dark internal coloring with very little zoning.
First Crop :
Compared to Merlin, you can see how much larger the tops are, making it much more productive for beet greens. However, the beets themselves aren’t as round and uniform but are much better for beet greens.
Best Air container and Bags:
AIRTIGHT & LEAKPROOF: These freezer bags are designed with airtight and leakproof seals that will keep your food fresh and free of spills. The silicone material ensures that your food stays secure even when stored in the fridge or freezer, so you can trust them to keep your favorite dishes safe and sound.
People would call it a pickling or cylindrical beet. These beets form long, skinny beads instead of being round, making them really good for people who want nice round sliced beets for pickling. They’re also a great cooking beet because a round beet as it matures just gets bigger and bigger, taking longer to cook and becoming more difficult to cook properly. These long beets cook much more evenly and quickly than a large round beet.
Specialty Beets :
Boldore is quite popular. It’s a yellow beet with orange-golden flesh, greenish-yellow leaf veins, and lighter green leaves. They’re just as sweet as regular beets, and one advantage to them is that they don’t stain everything around them when cooked, so they can be used in salads and cooked with other vegetables.
An heirloom type called Kiosa, with bright red skin and interior color almost like a candy stripe pattern with white and red, offering a nice diversity along with the red and orange for a nice range of colors.
Bull’s Blood has really deep red foliage that’s more for the greens than the beets. The glossy dark red leaves are great for mixed salads and for people who like beet greens.
Swiss Chard :
Swiss chard is another really good option. Swiss chard and beets are closely related. The two standard types are Fordhook Giant, with large white mid-ribs and dark green leaves, and Rhubarb Chard, with really nice dark red stems and veining in the leaves. Any of these Swiss chards can be cooked and used the same way you would use beet greens.
Another amazing beetroot is a really nice blend that we call our Kaleidoscope blend, which has a really nice range of colors from yellows and pinks and whites to oranges, striated oranges, and whites. This blend gives you a really nice range of colors and makes a really nice bunch of greens.
How to buy or select beetroot 101:
When you’re shopping for your beets, what you need to know: all beets have a root that’s the bottom, the bulb, and the leaves. Ideally, if you can find your beets with the leaves still attached to the root, this is a very good thing.
- 1 The greens are completely edible, super delicious, extremely nutritious, and really it’s like getting two veggies for the price of one.
- 2 If the greens are still attached, you know you’ve got yourself some fresh, healthy beets. On the flip side, if you can’t find them with the greens, then you do want to make sure that your beet still has its tail intact like this and that the root is nice and firm, and rich in color.
- 3 As for the size, they can range anywhere from the size of a golf ball all the way to a softball. But personally speaking, I wouldn’t buy anything bigger than say a baseball because what I find is when they start to get really big, they also tend to lose their flavor. So small to medium beets are the way to go.
How to store beetroot 101?
Cut off the leaves: First, cut off the leaves from the beetroot, leaving about an inch of the stem attached. The leaves can be used separately in salads or sautéed like spinach.
Rinse: Rinse the beetroot thoroughly under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris.
Boil or roast: You can either boil or roast the beetroot until it is cooked through. Boiling takes around 45-60 minutes while roasting can take up to an hour or more. Once cooked, allow the beetroot to cool.
Peel: Using a paring knife, gently peel off the skin of the beetroot. You may also use a vegetable peeler if you prefer.
Store: Once peeled, you can store the beetroot in an airtight bags in the fridge for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can also freeze the beetroot for up to 8 months. To freeze, cut the beetroot into cubes or slices and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container.
- 1 Roasted Beetroot Salad: Cut roasted beets into small pieces and toss them with greens, crumbled goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard.
- 2 Beetroot Hummus: In a food processor, blend cooked beets, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and salt until smooth. Serve with pita chips, veggies, or crackers.
- 3 Beetroot Soup: Cook diced beets with onions and garlic in vegetable broth until tender. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth, and then stir in heavy cream and chopped dill. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- 4 Beetroot and Feta Tart: Roll out puff pastry and place it in a tart pan. Layer thinly sliced roasted beets and crumbled feta cheese on top. Bake in the oven until the pastry is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
- 5 Beetroot and Quinoa Salad: Cook quinoa according to package instructions and let cool. Add diced roasted beets, chopped cucumber, crumbled feta cheese, and a lemon-herb vinaigrette. Serve cold or at room temperature.