WHY BEETROOT WILL MAKE YOU SMARTER, RUN FASTER AND FEEL YOUNGER

Whether you are eating beetroots boiled, roasted, in soup or in a juice, they taste delicious. The sweetness of this vegetable is addictive and adds so much flavour to any meal. If that's not already great news, it is also packed with antioxidants, is low in calories and can even make you train harder!

Beetroot is a vegetable from the same family as spinach, chard, and quinoa.  The bulb, the delicious purple part of the beetroot, is the most commonly consumed part of the vegetable, but it's leaves can also be eaten, just boil and dress with olive oil, lemon and salt.

There are some key components that make beetroot a “function food” (foods that promote optimal health and reduce the risk of disease).  These are the high quantities of nitrate and betalains, a bioactive pigment.

It is important to note that the nitrate we are referring to is not the bad kind that we associate with cold meats, such as salami, which have been linked to increased risk of cancer.   The nitrate we are are talking about is found in many vegetables, but in significantly higher amounts in beetroot.  Once nitrate from beetroot is consumed it is metabolised to form Nitric Oxide.

So what are the key health benefits of beetroot?  

  1. Nitric Oxide functions to maintain endothelial function.  The endothelium is responsible for maintaining vasodilation, the release of blood vessels and the formulation of blood clots inside a blood vessel.

  2. Nitric Oxide allows for increased blood and oxygen to be delivered to the muscles, so that means when you are running or training, more oxygen can be sent to your muscles, inevitably leading to increased performance and endurance.

  3. Betalains are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants, meaning they can help eliminate oxidative stress and reduce chronic inflammation, improving your overall bodily function. A recent study found that betalains can inhibit inflammatory markers in the body and target cells leading to inflammation.

  4. Nitric Oxide is associated with improved cognitive function, making you think, reason and remember better.  Nitric Oxide is transported to areas of the body that require oxygen.  The brain is one of the heaviest uses of oxygen. That means more Nitric Oxide, more oxygen to the brain and improved brain function!

  5. Beetroot helps reduce blood pressure.   The results released by the American Society for Nutrition Journal in 2013, showed inorganic nitrate and beetroot supplementation had blood pressure lowering effects, particularly on systolic blood pressure.

So let’s keep eating beetroot!

Here is a quick easy recipe for you to try.

 

Roasted balsamic glazed beetroots and onion

Ingredients

  • 4 medium beetroot bulbs

  • 2 spanish onions

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • ½ cup of lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp thyme

  • 4 garlic cloves, whole

  • Parsley, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

  2. Wash the beetroots thoroughly, removing any dirt from the skin.

  3. Cut beetroots and onions into quarters.

  4. Combine vinegar, lemon juice, oil, thyme and salt and pepper. Cover the beetroot and onions with the marinate.  

  5. Toss the beetroot and onion, and garlic cloves in a baking tray.

  6. Bake for approximately one hour.

  7. Remove from oven.

  8. Once slightly cooled garnish with parsley and drizzle a little more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.