Don’t skip a beet

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In my opinion beetroots are completely under-rated. They have however become more fashionable in recent times since they were given the limelight in a Chocolate Beetroot Brownie. However they don’t have to be paired with chocolate to appeal to the masses. Their nutritional health benefits are enough of a reason to regularly munch these ruby red beets.

Beets contain carbohydrates, protein, powerful antioxidants, soluble fibre, potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and folic acid. Research has shown that beetroot can help reduce blood pressure as well as its associated risks such as heart attacks and strokes. This is because the high content of nitrates in beetroot produces a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Beets contain high levels of folic acid which is essential for normal tissue growth. Folic acid is crucial to the development of a baby’s spinal cord during the first three months of pregnancy and can help prevent spinal cord defects such as spina bifida.

Beetroot contains the mineral silica which helps the body to utilise calcium, this is important for musculo-skeletal health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. They also contain carotenoids and flavonoids, which help prevent LDL or bad cholesterol from being oxidised and deposited in the arteries. They are virtually fat free and low in calories. They have an extremely low GL (Glycaemic Load) of 2.9 which means they are converted into sugars very slowly, therefore helping to keep blood sugar levels stable. Beetroots iron content means its beneficial for those with anemia and fatigue and better for you than a Guinness.

Tara-lee Byrne