5 reasons why you should eat more Beetroot
It is one of Australia’s favourite vegetables: the beetroot. And for a reason: the red beet with its slightly sweet and naturally earthy taste is super versatile (you can eat it raw, cooked, roasted, fermented or juiced) and almost always in season. Most importantly, however, beetroot is packed with lots of healthy goodness and eating it has been linked to numerous health benefits.
So let’s find out why we should munch on this precious root.
1. Lowers blood pressure
Drinking juiced beetroot may help lower blood pressure. A study has found out that drinking just one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points within a matter of hours. It is assumed the benefit comes from the high nitrate content of beetroot, which after being converted into nitric oxide in our bodies, helps to relax blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow and lower, therefore, blood pressure.
2. Fights inflammation
Beetroot is a good source of the nutrients betaine and choline. Both are important to maintain the structure of cellular membranes and are known to fight inflammation. Choline is further held to improve sleep, muscle recovery as well as learning and memory (through improved neural transmission).
3. Improves athletic performance
If you are looking for a natural boost for your next workout session, beetroot might just be what you need. A study has found that supplementing with beet juice increased performance in athletes, enabling them to exercise for up to 16 per cent longer. Experts attributed these results to the naturally occurring nitrates in beetroot, which improve the oxygen uptake of muscles during exercise.
4. Helps with diabetes
The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid contained in beetroot has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent stress-induced changes in diabetes patients.
5. Other goodness improving overall health
And the list of health benefits goes on. Naturally high in fibre, beetroot helps prevent constipation and regulate digestive functions. Beets are also high in immune boosting Vitamin C, potassium (essential for nerve and muscle function), manganese (good for liver, bones, kidney and pancreas health) and B vitamin folate, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper and selenium. 
Try this recipe for Chunky Beetroot Pesto for an easy way to incorporate beetroot in your diet.
- 3-4 medium-sized beets
- juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + 2 tablespoons for roasting
- 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
- Peel beetroot and cut into wedges, cover in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast in the oven at 220° C fan-forced for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and place into a blender (including the excess olive oil) along with lemon juice, sunflower seeds, olive oil and cumin and blend until it has a chunky texture (you may have to use a tamper).
- Serve as a dip, spread or with red meat.