Focus on Food – Beetroot

Beetroot has been used for centuries as a food, dye and even a source of sugar. It’s no wonder beetroot has been so popular – it’s packed with antioxidants, is great for detoxification and is a great source of energy.

The scarlet red colour of beetroot is due to a combination of betacyanin (yellow) and betaxanthin (purple) pigments. These phytochemicals are potent antioxidants, showing promise in studies for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Beetroot is also one of the highest sources of the nutrient betaine. Betaine helps with liver detoxification, stomach acid production and also improves mood boosting levels of serotonin, relaxing the mind. Betaine also helps increase levels of the amino acid carnitine, which helps with energy production and fat metabolism.

When most people think of beetroot they refer to the canned variety, but fresh is much better! Canned beetroot has added sugar, and has a lot of the goodness cooked out of it.

So how do you eat it fresh? There are several delicious ways that you can prepare whole beetroot.

Boiling

The easiest way to prepare beetroot is to boil it. Trim the leaves off (if still attached) and put beets into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook until you can stick a skewer or knife in easily.

Once cooled, peel the skin off with your hands by pushing gently – it should peel right off! Boiled beetroot is delicious cut into cubes and put into salads.

Roasting

Another easy method, roasting beetroot is done like any other veggie. Put on a tray, coat with a little macadamia or olive oil and roast at around 180 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Stick a knife in to see if it is cooked.

Like boiled beetroot, you should be able to peel the skin off easily with your hands. Try making a beetroot puree or dip by adding tahini or yoghurt.

Grating

This method preserves the most antioxidants. Simply peel the skin off and grate. It works well to peel the skin off half and use the other half to hold on to. Grated beetroot is great in salads, and has a fresher flavour than cooked, try it!

Juicing

Beetroot juice is a great source of antioxidants, and makes other vegetable juices taste sweeter. try with celery, carrot and cucumber – yum!