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Health

Beetroot Red Heart Valentine Plant

Nature offers diversity, colors, shapes and tastes even in winter time. The weather is getting colder and wilder in Greece and staying at home for work makes you think new ways of organizing and implementing your food habits.

Roots and tubers are super-nutritious, but they also offer extra calories. That is logical, when you consider that roots and tubers are actually ‘stored energy’ for the plant. This energy is used for the winter time, and prepare the plant for a good flowering season in Spring.

This is what is going on in your body also – storing energy for the cold days of winter. Do you usually gain 1-2 kg extra weight in winter? I usually do. It is what the body needs to keep up with low temperatures. But beetroots or potatoes which are packed with sugars are not ‘Fat for your body’. They are nutritious and delicious!

Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) is a root vegetable packed with essential nutrients, fiber, and healing power. It contains folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.

Raw, cooked, or pickled beetroot offers a great deal of power to your body. It has 8-10% carbs, as simple sugars, glucose and fructose mainly. In test of how fast blood sugar levels rise after meal, beetroots scored a 61 glycemic index, considered to be medium. But in the glycemic load tests beetroots score only 5 (very low). This means that regarding blood sugar levels, they do not have a major effect (if you do have huge problem with your blood sugar, however, please seek the advice of your doctor).

Regarding other plant compounds that contribute to the color, there is are potential of blood pressure lowering substances. Also, the color offers a great deal of antioxidants and helps with LDL oxidation, limiting DNA damage. The coloring is often used as a food colorant and as an antioxidant in food processing. On the other hand, more extensive studies are needed to verify potentials health benefits.

To sup up, I declare a big ‘yes’ for beetroots in winter time, but I prefer them for lunch or an early afternoon dinner.

Keep in mind that buying organic is better for all roots and tuber products.

* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botany-Biology.

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