I AM not the biggest fan of this time of year. Yes, I like the cold crisp sunny days (when we get them) and the leaves falling from the trees can look beautiful.
But the dark nights? No! That I do not like! It shortens the day, leaves fewer hours for daylight exercise and makes you feel like as if it is really late when you are drawing the curtains at 5.30pm!
We have to be clever. We can use food to make us feel better, and I am not talking about Prosecco and chocolate!
Scientific studies have shown that the more colourful a food, the more nutritious it tends to be. Very few foods come more colourful and bold than beetroot.
It may seem obvious to many, but there is a direct link between what we put into our bodies (or tummy’s) and the way our brain, body and hormones are affected throughout the day.
There are two hormones, dopamine and serotonin, which make us feel great and give us a natural high.
Levels of these two hormones increase when we smile, exercise and have sex. Levels are often low when we suffer depression, are in pain or when your liver is not functioning well.
Betaine in beetroot increases the levels of these hormones in the body, not through artificially boosting them, but by naturally improving liver detoxification and providing the natural building blocks necessary to produce these hormones.
As well as more “happy hormones”, other benefits of betaine include increased bile flow, improved digestion (especially in betaine hydrochloride form) and fewer aches and pains.
Even the medical establishment is now starting to see the benefits of betaine. Supplementation is often being prescribed over traditional anti-depressants. This is great since it will reduce the risk of serious side effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs, reduce dependence and addiction to drugs and help educate people there are natural and sustainable ways to achieve optimum physical and emotional health through a move toward a more wholesome diet.
Beetroot has been used for thousands of years to help alleviate various health conditions including:
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Liver/Gallbladder conditions
Beetroot is a good source of iron and folate (naturally occurring folic acid). It also contains nitrates, betaine, magnesium and other antioxidants (notably betacyanin).
Beetroots are best enjoyed raw and uncooked as cooking may destroy most of its nutrients. You can add them in salads or just juice them up.
Beetroots are one of the healthiest vegetables you can juice, undoubtedly. A glass or two helps in giving you all the vitamins and minerals in a concentrated form. If your mixture is too thick, you can add some water to balance the consistency.
Also, remember that plain beetroot juice may contain oxalic acid and therefore it is good to blend it with other fruits or vegetables. This will also help in adding additional flavour and nutrition.
For instance, beetroots and carrots make a fabulous flavour. Other fruits that go well with beetroot could be oranges and pineapple that add a nice tang while complementing the sweet flavour of beets or perhaps some papaya for depth and to add body to your drink.
However you consume them, this colourful root vegetable is going to do you a whole heap of good and it could just lift your winter blues too!