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Less pain, more gain after exercise with beetroot juice

Drinking beetroot juice after exercise reduces muscle soreness and helps your muscles recover, according to new research from Northumbria University, published in this month’s European Journal of Applied Physiology (EJAP). The authors suggested that the nitrates and betalains in beetroot juice, which have been shown to act as antioxidants, might have aided exercise recovery by preserving muscle function and reducing inflammation.

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beetroot and folic acid

Folic acid

Beetroot contains folic acid which is essential for normal tissue growth. Folic acid is crucial in the development of the baby’s spinal cord.

Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its colour, is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants are believed to help reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, in turn protecting artery walls and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

To juice or not to juice?

Did you know that eating 200g of cooked beetroot provides the same health benefits as drinking 500ml of juice? So whether you are juicer or a snacker you can easily get your 5-a-day with beetroot!

In spring, it is said, a young man’s fancy turns to love. In autumn, the chef’s fancy (whether young or not) turns to the fantastic seasonal produce on offer: root vegetables, game, orchard fruits, truffles, mushrooms. And beetroot. Because beetroot can be a very exciting ingredient. I prize its vibrant red-purple hue (though it comes in a variety of colours) and its sweetness and extraordinary earthiness.

Heston Blumenthal

Although it is simplicity personified, beetroot soup always screams of effort. Maybe it's the colour, or the rich ruby earthiness of it. To me, it's Norway in a bowl.

Sophie Dahl

Beetroot risotto

Diana Henry’s beetroot risotto with Lancashire cheese

You can serve this as you would any risotto – with grated pecorino or parmesan on the side – but I like a subtler cheese, and since it isn’t strictly Italian I think it’s alright to use something unexpected. Crumbly Lancashire is perfect.

reginette past with beetroot nigella

Reginette pasta with beetroot and sour cream sauce

Inspired by Nigella Lawson and her love for reginette pasta, this pretty dish looks decadent but is actually deliciously healthy. The beetroot sauce turns the pasta a pretty pink hue, while the rocket adds a splash of green and a fresh crispness. And if you fancy something a bit more indulgent, try dressing the salad prior to adding the pasta and topping it off with parmesan shavings.