By Riham Shamseddine, Dietitian
Beetroot, also known as table beet, garden beet, red or golden beet, is a dark red vegetable that contains the powerful antioxidant betacyanin, which gives it its red blue color. Beetroot belongs to the turnips family, similar to sugar beet. Although red beetroot is the most familiar, white and yellow versions also exist.
Health Benefits and Interesting Facts
Beetroot has a sweet taste and tender texture after cooking it in hot water. Including beetroot as one of the five vegetables in your daily meals is a very good idea because it is a rich source of Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Folic Acid and fiber. In addition, beetroot is also rich in the nutrient Silica, which is essential for healthy skin, hair, nails and bones.
Research has shown that the nitrate present in beetroot helps in lowering blood pressure, blood cholesterol and fight heart diseases. Also, beetroot helps increase the supply of oxygen towards places in the body lacking it, like the brain, which decreases the risk of dementia and memory loss.
Did You Know?
Runners that ate cooked beetroot before a race had a 41 second advantage for a 5k run. Nitrate, or “sodium nitrate”, present in 200 grams of cooked beetroot consumed 60 minutes before exercise showed an increase in the speed of performers by 3%, and their performance was at its best over the final 1.1 miles of the race.
Ways to Eat Beetroot
Beetroot can be grilled, boiled, or roasted as a cooked vegetable, consumed cold with a salad after cooking, or raw and shredded served as a main dish or as a side to grilled protein. Beetroot’s dark green leaves are also edible. They are most commonly served boiled or steamed, cooked, pickled, and then eaten cold as a condiment, or peeled, shredded raw. Their taste and texture are very similar to that of spinach!
One serving of cooked beetroot is equivalent to ½ a cup, and contains 26 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates (24 calories) and 1 gram of protein (4 calories). So if you’re on a weight loss program or counting your calories, just mind the portions!
Recipe: Gingered Beetroot
4 beetroots with tops – chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ginger root, finely chopped
½ cup of grated carrots
Preparation and Cooking Methods:
1. Boil or steam the beetroots until they become tender (including their green tops).
2. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds (without oil) until they are brown.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the soy sauce, olive oil, and ginger. Add all the ingredients together and mix well with the dressing
4. Serve warm or cold as a side salad to grilled chicken, fish or beef fillet. Enjoy your meal!