Deep, earthy flavour and a whole lot of crunch, but what we all love most about beetroot is the incredible colour that can transform anything shockingly into pink. The overpoweringly vibrant hue makes it one of the most vibrant vegetables that can completely take over your meal. It comes from a pigment called betanin which is often extracted to create natural food colouring and dyes. Interestingly, beets were also used to add colour to wines back in the day.
Originally from Europe, beetroot was first cultivated by the Romans. By the 19th century, it was discovered that it contains one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable and was then used commercially to extract sucrose from the beet plant.
For years, it's been restricted to the corner of the plate as a forgetful side or mostly dumped in salads. But with its sweet and rustic charm, this root vegetable is enjoying a well-deserved comeback, thanks to its health credentials.
It's difficult to resist the ruby red juiciness especially when you know just how good they are for you - the many beetroot benefits.
Beets fight cancer
There are multiple cancer-fighting health benefits of beets. Beets contain high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that, as studies show, may help reduce the risk of some cancers. They get their striking red colour from betacyanin: a plant pigment that some preliminary research indicates might help defend cells against harmful carcinogens. Also, high levels of a unique fibre found in beets may be linked to a lower colon cancer risk.
Beets lower risk of heart disease
Beets are a good source of folate and betaine. These nutrients act together to help lower blood levels of homocysteine, which can increase your risk of heart disease by causing artery-damaging inflammation.
Beets boost eye health
Beet greens are a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that helps protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. They also contain a wide variety of phytochemicals that may help improve the health of your eyes and nerve tissues.
Beets reduce dementia risk
Beets produce nitric acid, which helps increase blood flow throughout your body, including to your brain. MRIs done on older adults showed that after eating a high-nitrate diet that included beet juice, the subjects had more blood flow to the white matter of their frontal lobes.
Beets combat constipation
Fibre helps keep your digestive system running smoothly, and one of the many health benefits of beets is that they are chock full of it.
Beets contribute to kidney stones
Despite all these health benefits of beets, there are also some risks. For starters, you might want to eat beet greens with caution if you’re prone to kidney stones. They’re high in oxalates, which can form small crystals and contribute to the development of kidney stones.
How to make beetroot juice?
People can make beetroot juice at home using a juicer, blender, or food processor.
Preparation: Trim the tops off the beets before washing them thoroughly. Leave the beetroot skin intact for extra nutrients. Chop the beets into small pieces.
Juice the beets: Set up a juicer with a bowl or pitcher in a position to catch discarded material. Feed the beetroot pieces into the juicer one at a time. Pour the beetroot juice into a glass, and immediately drink it or place it in the refrigerator to chill.
Blend the beets:
Place the beetroot pieces into the blender, and add a splash of water to help soften up the beetroot. Blend until smooth.
Remove large chunks from the juice using a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer.
Discard the pulp and pour the beetroot juice into a glass. Chill it in the refrigerator or serve it straight away. People can drink beetroot juice on its own, or they can blend it with the juice of other fruits and vegetables.
The following healthful ingredients can add a flavorful twist:
People can also buy beetroot juice from their local grocery store or choose between brands online. It is important to check the nutrition label on products and avoid juices that contain added sugars and preservatives.
Beetroots are a healthful addition to most diets. People can experience the health benefits of beetroots by eating them raw or cooked or by drinking beetroot juice. Juiced beets contain many beneficial nutrients that the cooking process can remove.