Beetroot boosters

Katy Foggin and Amanda Grieveson of Believe2Achieve, Newcastle, are feeling the beet

Okay, this month we have mostly been eating beetroot, in season from July to the end of autumn but available almost year round, and tasty and healthy.

Not only is it great for boosting stamina and making muscles work harder, it also contains potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C as well as 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 (source – It also:

Reduces blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and strokes – because the high content of nitrates in beetroot produce nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure

Has powerful antioxidant properties – Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its colour, is also an antioxidant believed to help reduce the oxidation of LDL or “bad” cholesterol, in turn protecting artery walls and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Has folic acid – Beetroot contains folic acid essential for normal tissue growth and crucial to the development of baby’s spinal cord during the first three months of pregnancy.

Reduces risk of osteoporosis – Beetroot contains the mineral silica which helps the body to utilise calcium, important for musculo-skeletal health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Stabilises blood sugar – Beetroot is virtually fat free and low in calories. It has a ‘medium’ GI (Glycaemic Index) of 64, but an extremely low GL (Glycaemic Load) of 2.9 so it’s converted into sugars very slowly so helps to keep blood sugar levels stable.

Helps slow progression of dementia – Claims a recent study by Wake Forest University in the USA.


Beetroot-stained Smoked Salmon with beetroot and walnuts
Serves 2 as a starter


250g vacuum packed beetroot, drained
12 chives
8-12 walnut halves
1tbsp walnut oil
½ tsp sherry vinegar
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
120g smoked salmon
2 tsp crème fraîche
2 sprigs dill


Take one beetroot and slice it into thin rounds. Put the salmon on a plate, grind over a little pepper and lay the beetroot over the top. Cover tightly with clingfilm, weigh down with a second plate, refrigerate for 4 hours min, 24 hours max.

Cut the rest of the beetroot in half and slice into half circles about as thick as a pound coin.

Slice chives finely, break walnuts into three or four pieces each. Mix beetroot, chives, walnuts, walnut oil and sherry vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, peel the beetroot circles off the salmon and arrange salmon into a nest on two plates. Spoon salad on top and add a dollop of crème fraîche and dill.


Beetroot power salad
Serves: 4


50g natural organic yogurt or soya yoghurt
1 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tsp horseradish
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

For the salad:

2 eggs, hard boiled or poached
80g cooked beetroot, chopped
60g yellow pepper, chopped
2 tbsp sprouted beans and lentils (supermarket mix)
40g mixed leaves, washed and drained
6 walnut halves
rock salt to taste

Serve with: 1 slice of rye toast topped with half a small avocado, black pepper and lemon juice or with hummus or tahini


Mix the dressing ingredients together.  Boil the eggs. Place the leaves on a plate. Mix the beetroot, peppers and sprouted beans and place on the leaves. Cut the egg into halves and place on the beetroot mix with the walnuts. Top with the dressing and serve immediately.

Toast the rye bread and add the topping of your choice.


Reginette pasta with beetroot & sour cream sauce
Serves: 4


280g reginette pasta
4 shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 pack cooked beetroot dipped in vinegar
2tsp olive oil
200ml low fat sour cream
2 large handfuls rocket
small bunch chives, chopped
salt and pepper
salad dressing
parmesan shavings

Cook the pasta. Roughly chop shallots, garlic and beetroot, heat oil in a pan and sauté the shallots for 5-6 mins until softening, then add garlic and cook for 2 mins more.

Take off heat, add beetroot and sour cream, blend mixture using a hand blender to a coarse sauce. Season. Pour warm sauce over drained pasta and toss. Dress rocket and scatter over each plate, topped with the pasta, sprinkle over the chives, remaining rocket and a few shavings of parmesan.

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