When it comes to healthy vegetables, these red roots – along with their green leaves – are seriously hard to beet.
It boosts your eye health, lowers your risk of heart disease, and – possibly best of all – when you’re having it for Sunday dinner, it’ll turn your boring rice and potatoes into a bright red work of on-the-plate art. But the chances are, even if you’re eating beetroot, you’re probably throwing away the best parts!
The root is the part that you’re probably most familiar with. Its high sugar content makes it delicious when eaten raw, but you’ll usually find it either cooked or pickled. Beetroot is great for your liver, and helps to fight constipation, dementia and heart disease.
But the root isn’t the only good part. Beetroot juice (that’s the red ink that stains your potatoes so spectacularly) is a great pre- or post-workout drink, as it helps to improve your body’s blood flow and balances your stamina and oxygen use. Beet juice has also been shown to actively lower your body’s blood pressure, thanks to its high nitrate content.
But the leaves are a beetroot’s real secret weapon. Beetroot actually belongs to the same veggie family as spinach, meaning that – even though the red root is the most famous part – its leaves can also be eaten, like spinach. (The leaves are bitter, while the root is sweet.) Those green, leafy tops are – in some ways – the healthiest part of the vegetable, containing key nutrients like iron, protein, calcium, fibre, zinc, potassium and vitamins A, C and B6. In fact, the green part of the beetroot has more iron than spinach, and a higher overall nutritional value than the beetroot root!
You’ll want to pick the freshest beetroots when you go shopping at your RCS shopping network grocery store, so here’s what you need to look for. Fresh beets still have their greens intact, and the root should be firm, smooth and a bright purpley-red. Fresh beetroots will last for about three days in the fridge with the greens attached, or three weeks in the fridge with the greens removed. If you’re going to freeze beetroot, remember to cook it first. Raw frozen beetroots become soft when they thaw, while cooked frozen beetroot will keep its sweet flavour and firmness.
STOCK YOUR PANTRY!
When it comes to healthy eating, you can’t beat beetroot! Buy a supply next time you’re doing your grocery shopping. Remember, your RCS Card gives you access to the RCS shopping network, which includes South Africa’s leading grocery stores.