Beetroot will help you Beet your opponents

Not something we buy often.

When walking through the supermarket, most people will go for the usual fruit and vegetables; bananas and potatoes etc. This may be because of the ease of consumption and cooking recipes available. Plus the kids like chips and anything that is sweet. People may have heard about these ‘superfoods’ but not really read too much about them. In most cases superfoods such as blueberries and salmon are usually expensive. However, there is one vegetable that deserves its place as a superfood and is not expensive to buy. I’m talking about beetroots.

Despite the fact that, from fresh, they look like round podgy purple carrots, you can treat them just like you would a potato. Yes, I know that once you have started to peel a beetroot it looks like you have blood all over your hands. Yet, with a little bit of peeling, chopping and imagination you can make some really nice meals with beetroot. I would personally go for the fresh stuff and not the pre-peeled packet that you can often find in the supermarket. Most supermarkets will pump any vegetables that are in a packet with extra additives or preservatives to give it a better colour, taste and to make it last longer on the shelf. These unnecessary additives etc do not work that well inside your stomach. An old nutritionist of mine once said to me ‘stay fresh and eat fresh’. The fresher the products, the more vitamins and minerals you will get from that particular food source. Even professional football clubs realise the importance of fresh nutrition. For example, Chelsea Football Club invested in local farms in order to grow their own fruit and veg, in order to put it on the players plates within 24 hours.

But why buy it?

Beetroot holds something called nitrate. This nitrate helps your body in a number of ways. In the nutrition journal, Coles and Clifton (2012) found that taking in beetroot juice lowers blood pressure as part of a normal diet. In another journal, the consumption of whole beetroot vegetable was investigated against running performance (Murphy et al, 2012). They found that eating a nitrate rich vegetable like beetroot can improve running performance. If you are like me, then you will want to know why this happens. When you eat your beetroot, the nitrate within it is converted into nitric oxide. This new form of nitrate is what the body uses to open your veins up in order to help your blood flow through your body. If the veins and capillaries are wider, the blood has more space to travel through, and so lowers the blood pressure, and hence, helps a person perform harder for longer. If you are unsure whether to buy the juice or the veg, either because you are on a low carbohydrate diet or you are counting your calories, a cup of whole beetroot is under 40 calories and under 10g of carbs, whereas a serving size of 250ml of beetroot juice is 98 calories and closer to 22g carbs (due to natural sugars etc). I must admit though, drinking beetroot juice takes some time to adjust to. So, they include a bit of apple juice to make it palatable. Plus, having a bottle off beetroot juice in the fridge gives you fast access to those all important nitrates, but don’t be alarmed when your urine turns pink, its normal. So my advice is to buy both. Beetroot juice is in pretty much all of the supermarkets for £2.99.

What can I do with a whole beetroot?

So yesterday I tweeted that I would provide a cheeky beetroot recipe. This recipe makes about 6/7 little burger shaped patties, and you can mix it up and add extra bits and pieces to get it to taste however you like.

You need:

  • 3 beetroots (peeled and grated)
  • 1/4 onion (peeled and grade)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 table spoons of flour or pure fine oats

The process:

  1. After grating everything, we want to get all the extra juice out of it, so place the beetroot in the the middle of a clean cotton kitchen towel and bring the corners together and start twisting. You can drain the fluid into a cup and use this later to drink yourself.
  2. Once most of the fluid is drained, place into a large bowl and add the grated onion and the beaten egg. Give this a good mix and add seasoning and anything extra you wish. I had a little bit of chorizo or bacon to go with this.
  3. At the 2 tablespoons of flour and mix through the grated beetroot.
  4. Next, go and wet your hands (so the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands) and then shape a small amount of the beetroot mixture into a ball and then flatten it like a burger.
  5. After you have completed this with all of the mixture, put a pan on medium to high heat and at some olive oil or rapeseed oil. Then you place the beetroots patties into the pan and cook on each side for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Once cooked, put a nice poached egg on top and you have a stunning meal for lunch.
Enjoy with a poached egg on top

Enjoy with a poached egg on top