Specifically a new range of ‘souped-up’ beetroot that appeared on my desk this week. Called Infused Beetroot it’s marinated beetroot with added kicks like Sweet Chilli, Honey and Ginger or Juniper and Black Pepper. To be honest, they all pretty much tasted the same – a bit firey (I don’t exactly have refined tastebuds) but they were all pretty tasty and gave the beetroot an extra something.
But the thing I liked most about them was they were small. About the size of a gobstopper. And they didn’t come in any kind of juice (beetroot can be a messy vegetable) which meant, I could just pop 3-4 in a cup and eat them as a snack. They have a few more calories than normal beetroot – 65-85 per 100gm, compared to 38 calories for the normal stuff – but a 60-80 calorie snack (half a pack) filled with health benefits is okay by me.
You see, beetroot is good for you – very good for you. Here’s five things to know about it…..
1) It’s great for exercisers. It contains nitrates that have been proven to help exercise endurance. In trials people eating 200gm of beetroot before they ran 5km knocked 41 seconds off their time – but didn’t feel as if they were working so hard. They also run the last 1.8km faster than the first. (Expect a post about beetroot as breakfast before Parkrun at some point in the future).
2) It might help your heart: Dietary nitrate creates nitric oxide in the body which helps widen blood vessels in ways that might help lower blood pressure. The study tested juice but you get the same dose from 1-2 beetroot a day is the recommended ‘daily dose’.
3) It contains vitamins A, C and B6 – and the minerals iron, potassium and magnesium.
4) Your brain likes it too. US researchers found a diet high in nitrates (from fruit and vegetables) helps increase blood flow to the brain in ways that might reduce risk of dementia.
5) It can make you poop red stuff. And turn your pee red too. Now there’s a party trick! It doesn’t happen all the time – it’s dependent on how much beetroot you eat, how much pigment is in the particular variety and how much stomach acid you’re producing. In fact, if you get bloating, gas or stomach cramps after eating, eating a few beetroot in can be a good test as to whether low stomach acid is the cause. If you pee pink afterwards it’s possible you do – you might want to think about taking some digestive bitters to help things along.
If I’ve convinced you, you’ll find Infused Beetroot in all the major supermarkets – although oddly each store sells different flavours. For a full list of where to buy them visit www.lovebeetroot.co.uk – and if, you want to try the Naan Bread Pizza pictured above as much as Ido, here’s where you find the recipe