Roasted, cooked in a tasty borscht or simply grated into salad, this deep purple vegetable has an awful lot of deep earthy goodness.
It’s been hidden in chocolate cakes, spiralised and made into burgers, which suggests our taste for beetroot is on the rise.
And even better news. It’s thought that beetroot can improve your workout and overall sporting performance, and speed up recovery time.
With the help of one of beetroot’s star nutrients, nitric oxide, this humble root veg can regulate respiration, immune function, blood pressure and muscle contraction.
It can also help to enhance oxygen uptake, and improve stamina thanks to its nutrient combination.
What gives beetroot its distinctive purple colour is a pigment called betalain. This has super antioxidant power, and anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.
Beetroot has high levels of polyphenols, including one called quercetin. Polyphenols are health-enhancing plant compounds which often encourage anti-inflammatory activity – all great news for post-workout.
Beetroot is full of magnesium, which is brilliant for regulating blood pressure; potassium, which is key in muscle cell function, and is packed full of vitamin C making it great for making you feel in tip top condition and ready to hit the gym.
With an active lifestyle, eating more beetroot will help with low blood pressure and help you keep fuller for longer thanks to its slow-releasing sugar content and high fibre credentials.
Eat the leaves for an additional iron and vitamin C boost. Get a good serving each day for a super-boost to fuel you through your workout for better performance, and to speed up your recovery.
Beetroot is so easy to grow so I have loads in the summer in salads and even smoothies. I really miss it in the winter, and the vacuum-packed stuff isn't the same as freshly cooked, not at all. I do still love it in a feta and quinoa salad though.
I love beetroot despite the mess. I have a friend who makes beetroot sauerkraut, just letting it ferment. Surprisingly delicious!