Health Facts

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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rainbow beetroot salad

Quick ways to 5-a-day

Beets contain carbohydrates, protein, powerful antioxidants and soluble fibre. What’s more, just three baby beetroot equal one of your recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

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.

beetroot and heart health

Reducing blood pressure

The high content of nitrates in beetroot produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and helps to lower blood pressure.

Research has shown that beetroot can help reduce blood pressure as well as its associated risks such as heart attacks and strokes. This is because the high content of nitrates in beetroot produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. A daily dose of 250ml of beetroot juice or 1 to 2 cooked beetroot (approx. 100g) can help dramatically reduce blood pressure and its associated risks. For more information on heart health, help, facts and lifestyle advice, visit the British Heart Foundation.

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

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!