The next vegetable that we are showcasing in Arthur’s Farm Kitchen and the Farm Shop is the Beetroot.
Beetroot are like marmite, people either love them or hate them! Hopefully by the end if this blog I will have persuaded you to at least try them out for yourself and make your own mind up.
Did you know that they are a really old vegetable and date back as far as ancient Egypt where it was the leaves which were eaten and not the bulb. In fact, the leaves are a superfood in their own right as they contain great levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, but I guess that is for another blog.
Beetroot come from the botanical family “Chenopodiaceae”, other members of which include spinach, swiss chard and quinoa.
They are definitely a nourishing vegetable and pack a punch in the Vitamin C stakes with about 4.9g of Vitamin C per 100g (about 8% of your RDA). They are also a good source of Iron and Magnesium, and a very good source of dietary Fibre, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.
Beetroot are higher is simple sugars than lots of other vegetables, so many people steer away from them if they are following certain diets. However, because of the fibre content, the sugar is slowly released into the body so you don’t get the sugar rush that you might get from eating cakes or chocolate. In my opinion the benefits of eating beetroot far out way any negatives.
A few of the health benefits are:
- Beetroot contains dietary nitrates, which act as vasodilators and help stimulate the flow of blood around the body and lower blood pressure, so are essential in keeping your heart healthy.
- Beetroot are also naturally high in phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and trace minerals which all help to fight disease in the body. They are an especially good source of a phytonutrient called betalain which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is the betalain in beetroot that gives it it’s colour.
- Beetroot are even said to be able to boost brain function, due to the high level of nitrates. So, including them in your diet may help protect against cognitive decline.
There are many ways to include beetroot in your diet – you can have them raw in juices or smoothies, pickled or fermented and added to salads or simply roasted and added to soups. Roasting helps to enhance the flavour, can take away some of the earthiness and make them sweeter so is a good choice if you are new to eating beetroot.
Here’s a fun beetroot fact for you, the Victorians used to use it to dye their hair. If you fancy giving it a go on your own hair, don’t forget your gloves 😉
Kate Bevan Wood Dip CNM, mBANT, CNHC
Registered Nutritional Therapist and Resident Nutritional Therapist at Fordhall Farm.