Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
In studies, numerous health benefits of consuming beetroot have been identified such as: helping to lower blood pressure, improve brain function and memory along with improving circulation and blood flow. Eating beetroot helps to increase blood circulation because beetroot is rich in nitrate. Enhanced circulation, and a reduction in blood pressure happens through the conversion of dietary nitrate (NO3) to biologically active nitrate (NO2) and then into nitric oxide (NO). The nitrate in beetroot juice is rapidly absorbed in the stomach and small intestine, allowing for quick conversion of nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide is an important vasodilator, which increases circulation throughout the body. Beetroot contains Betacyanin, a powerful antioxidant, which has been shown to reduce homocysteine levels. Beetroot is also a very good source of iron. Iron is a key component in preventing anaemia by sustaining healthy red blood cell counts.
Beetroot and fertility
Healthy circulation is essential to enable blood flow to the uterus. Promoting circulation to the uterus is crucial for improving uterine health and for pregnancy preparation. For women undergoing IVF treatment with a thin uterine lining, why not enjoy a glass of beetroot juice each day? in combination with other foods that increase blood flow, such as a handful of blueberries.
Beetroot contains a high level of folate which is essential when it comes to female fertility because it helps to reduce homocysteine levels (an amino acid that helps blood clot). If homocysteine levels are too high there is a chance that blood will clot too easily, which can create blockages that may cut off the placenta and cause miscarriage. Folate is also thought to help with implantation. Folate is also important in the prevention of neural tube defects in the developing foetus.
Research shows that poor levels of folate (vitamin B9) are linked to a low sperm count and decreased sperm mobility. Beetroot contains a good amount of this vitamin so can help boost male fertility. Beetroot contains plenty of vitamins C and E too important antioxidants.
Roasted Beetroot Crisps
You will need: (makes 2 portions)
Splash of olive oil
Seasoning -sea salt
To make: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Wash the beetroot well, peel and slice thinly (ideally 2mm thick). Place into a bowl and splash a little olive oil and seasoning over them (a sprinkle of sea salt works well) and mix together. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place each beetroot slice individually onto the paper. Bake for 30 minutes and then turn them over, return to the oven and bake for roughly another 30 minutes until crispy but not burnt (they may need a little longer)! Allow to cool then enjoy with a homemade dip. Why not check out some of the dip ideas in our nutrition and wellness section. Enjoy!