Deep, earthy flavor and a whole lot of crunch, but what I love most about beetroot is the incredible color that can transform anything shocking pink. The overpoweringly vibrant hue makes it one of the bossiest vegetables that can completely take over your dish.
It comes from a pigment called betanin which is often extracted to create natural food coloring and dyes. Interestingly, beets were also used to add color to wines back in the day. Originally from Europe, beetroot was first cultivated by the Romans.
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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.
Helps in detoxification
Beetroot is reckoned to be a great purifier. It detoxifies your body by pulling the toxins into the colon from where they can be evacuated. Some studies suggest that beetroot juice might also stimulate red blood cell production and build stamina.
Low in fat and calories
Although it has a high sugar content, it is low in calories and almost fat-free. Since it is loaded with the fiber it makes you full on lower calories. This makes it a nutritious option for those looking to keep their weight down.
Various studies around the world have shown that the high content of nitrates in beetroot produces a gas called nitric oxide. This gas helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels which improve blood flow and lowers blood pressure.
Rich in antioxidants
Betanin, the pigment which gives beetroot its color, is a potent antioxidant. Along with another class of antioxidants called polyphenols, these are getting more attention in the scientific community. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, antioxidants reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol, protect the artery walls and guard against heart disease and stroke.
“Most people think that diabetics should avoid beetroot since its sweet. It is sadly misunderstood. Beetroot is a great source of fiber and minerals like iron, potassium and manganese which are essential for good health and in combination with other foods it can deliver a lot,” says Dr. Rupali Datta, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis-Escort Hospital.
Vitamin C boosts immunity, folate is essential for normal tissue growth and fiber helps in smooth digestive functions. It is particularly high in protein and iron than most other roots and tubers.
Beetroot is actually one of the best home remedies to fight the flakes and an itchy scalp. You can boil some beets in water and use the concentrated liquid to massage on the scalp. Alternatively, you can mix some beetroot juice, vinegar, and ginger juice and apply to the scalp. Keep this for 20 minutes and rinse.
The power of raw The nutrients in beetroots is heat sensitive. With the rise in cooking time and temperature, the antioxidant content decreases. Beetroot is rich in Vitamin C which is a water-soluble vitamin that can be destroyed on cooking. Not only this, but it also loses more than 25 percent of its folate when cooked.
It is best to mildly steam or bake it at lower temperatures. Fresh beets are as happy in a soup as they are when pureed in a dip. If the jelly flesh has kept you away from beetroots, you can marinate it with some olive oil and herbs and roast it that’ll add some nice nuttiness.
Grilling, on the other hand, draws out the sweetness and gives it a smoky flavor. I also like to throw some beetroot shreds in a bowl of rice with some mustard seeds, makes for a quick meal.