Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Beetroot - The Latest Superfood

I first wrote the following article in 1989 and the medics said I was bonkers. Now, a major scientific study has found that beetroot juice dramatically increases stamina and physical performance. It makes no difference whether you are a couch potato or an elite athlete, you will perform better if you drink the juice!

Ancient Greeks revered beetroot as a medicine and offered it as a tribute to Apollo in the temple at Delphi. Although there's not yet a great deal of scientific evidence to support the medicinal value of the beetroot, there is more than enough folklore and herbalist's knowledge to recommend it.

Eat beetroot least once a week, and more for specific therapeutic benefits. This is an extremely delicious vegetable to eat but sadly it's all too often relegated to a few slices of revolting vinegary pickled beetroot added to a limp salad. It is now possible to buy it cooked, washed and peeled and ready to use instantly, though this never tastes quite the same as cooking it from fresh.

For more health information and beetroot recipes . . . read on:

In Romany medicine, beetroot juice was used as a blood-builder, and in Russia and Eastern Europe, it's used to increase resistance, and to strengthen convalescents. Fresh raw beet juice is a powerful blood-cleanser and tonic, valued for centuries as a digestive aid and liver stimulant.

In the traditional medicine of central Europe, beetroot has been used in the treatment of cancer, but now, research is beginning to explain its action. Specific anti-carcinogens are bound to the red colouring matter, and it also increases the cellular uptake of oxygen by as much as 400%. Numerous hospital studies in Germany and Hungary have already been published and evidence for its ability to increase oxygen uptake has been confirmed by Dr Seeger of Berlin. This research will also explain its value in the treatment of anaemia and in the beetroot's ability to boost immunity.

This vegetable is at its most powerfully therapeutic when eaten raw.

Beet greens are equally valuable, containing beta-carotene and other carotenoids, lots of folate, potassium, some iron and vitamin C, all of which makes the roots and greens ideal for women planning pregnancy, women in general and anyone suffering from the chronic fatigue syndromes.

One excellent treatment for ME, TATT, chronic fatigue, glandular fever or recovering from other illnesses, is a mixture of beetroot, carrot, apple and celery juice. Take a small wineglass of this delicious drink before each meal.

Eaten raw, especially when grated with raw carrot and cucumber, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkled with chopped parsley – a better tonic than a bottle full of vitamin pills. They're delicious boiled as a vegetable, baked in the oven or as the traditional eastern European soup Borscht. Don't forget the leaves which can be cooked like spinach and are delicious to eat.

If you've drunk beetroot juice or eaten lots of beetroot, please don't worry when you go to the loo. I've frequently been called at three in the morning by a patient who I've put on the beetroot juice therapy to say they're passing blood in their urine or stool – it's only the beetroot.

Beetroot recipes:

Boiled Baby Beets In White Sauce

Cabbage And Beetroot Soup With Onion And Cider Vinegar

Orange, Beetroot And Almond Salad


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