Add red colours to your plate ! The c, or Beta vulgaris, belongs to the large family of Amaranthaceae which also includes chards. This vegetable has a sweet pulp, it is a tuber : only the root is eaten because its leaves are not edible. The beetroot, or vegetable beetroot, has a recognisable purple pulp, it resists the cold : it is ideal for bringing colour onto your plate, in summer or winter. This elegant tuber is delicious and has surprising nutritional qualities. Some even associate the longevity of some Eastern Europe populations with their regular consumption of this type of tuber, especially in the “borscht”, a traditional soup whose main ingredient is this succulent vegetable (1). Brief overview.
Beetroots contain a very high dose of phenolic compounds all beneficial to your organism, among them betalains (2), pigments known for their detoxifying properties (3). Indeed these active ingredients help the kidneys eliminate the “bad” toxines and reinforce the liver. Betanin which gives them its bright carmine colour is an anti-cancer agent. It actively inhibits the development of some cancers by eliminating the free radicals harmful to the organism. The effects of betanin have so far been tested on appearance and evolution of skin, lung (4), liver (5) and colon cancer, and some experiments are in progress on other types of cancers. This « miracle compound » also ensures the propercardiovascular (6) functioning of your organism by maintaining your blood vessels.
This protective effect is reinforced by the nitrates present in large quantities in beetroot juice. They give your body a better resistance to effort by a more efficient distribution of oxygen in your blood (7). Do not hesitate then to drink a large glass of beetroot juice before your nextsport session : your performance will certainly improve! As carrots, beetroots are excellent for your eyes and skin (8). They contain carotenoids which help protect your cells against aging which causes affections such as AMD or cataract, or melanoms.
How to cook and taste beetroots
Beetroot is very juicy and is mostly consumed fresh, on its own or in a salad, drizzled with lemon juice, or cooked in a cold salad with pepper and balsamic or Xeres vinegar. It is delicious mixed in a salad with spinach sprouts, corn salad or arugula, cheese and pine nuts for example. For a more original dish, choose the borscht and mix beetroot with potatoes and onions or even turnips. Everyone will love this soup, even those who do not like fresh beetroot !
When cooked, it does not lose its nutritional qualities and it will garnish your more sophisticated dishes, oven-roasted with squash and sweet potatoes and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The flavour of this mix goes amazingly well with stuffed meat, in elegant sweet and sour flavours. You can also astonish your guests with cooked beetroot brochettes for the apéritif. Use your imagination !
References : (1) KUMAR, Yashwant. Beetroot: A Super Food. IJESTA, 2015, vol. 1, no 3, p. 20-26. (2) Escribano J., Pedreno M.A., et al. Characterization of the antiradical activity of betalains from Beta vulgaris L. roots. Phytochem Anal 1998;9:124-7. (3) Kanner J, Harel S, Granit R. Betalains--a new class of dietary cationized antioxidants. J Agric Food Chem 2001 November;49(11):5178-85. (4) Kapadia GJ, Tokuda H, et al. Chemoprevention of lung and skin cancer by Beta vulgaris (beet) root extract. Cancer Lett 1996 February 27;100(1-2):211-4. (5) Kapadia GJ, Azuine MA, et al. Chemoprevention of DMBA-induced UV-B promoted, NOR-1-induced TPA promoted skin carcinogenesis, and DEN-induced phenobarbital promoted liver tumors in mice by extract of beetroot. Pharmacol Res 2003 February;47(2):141-8. (6) He FJ, Nowson CA, et al. Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables is related to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of cohort studies. J Hum Hypertens 2007;21:717-28. (7) Muggeridge DJ1, Howe CC, Spendiff O, Pedlar C, James PE, Easton C. A single dose of beetroot juice enhances cycling performance in simulated altitude. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Jan;46(1):143-50. (8) Lucarini M, Lanzi S, D'Evoli L et al. Intake of vitamin A and carotenoids from the Italian population--results of an Italian total diet study. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2006 May;76(3):103-9. 2006.