Beetroot is the vegetable of 2023 and 2024. The root vegetable has numerous health benefits. Among other things, it can promote digestion and support blood formation.
Beetroot is a true local superfood. This type of vegetable can be enjoyed raw or cooked. As the South Tyrol Consumer Center reports in a recent release, it is the vegetable of the year 2023/24.
Medical and culinary benefits
Beetroot has been grown in European gardens for centuries. Although their medicinal and culinary benefits were already known in ancient Rome, their qualities are little known today, writes the Association for the Conservation of Crop Diversity (VEN) in a leaflet (PDF). For this reason, too, VEN has chosen the tuber as the vegetable of the years 2023 and 2024.
Beetroot comes in different root shapes and colors. The palette includes red, red-purple and almost black to pink, orange and yellow tones, and two-tone variants (ringed red and white) also exist.
The pigment betanin is responsible for the red color. This is one of the secondary plant substances and probably has an antioxidant effect, which means it protects cells from free radicals.
After eating beetroot, your urine and stool may turn reddish for a short time. Betanin is also used in the food industry as an isolated dye E 162. Today, juice concentrates or extracts from beetroot are used more frequently as a coloring ingredient than food additives.
Beneficial for health
“Beetroot is good for your health thanks to its content of potassium, iron, folic acid, B vitamins, vitamin C and fiber,” explains Silke Raffeiner, nutrition expert at the South Tyrol Consumer Center.
“Fiber promotes digestion, iron supports blood formation, and folic acid is particularly important during pregnancy.”
Studies have shown that beets can support heart health. Researchers from Great Britain reported last year that beetroot juice can help against coronary heart disease.
And according to experts from the USA, the tuber strengthens the cardiovascular system and protects against diseases.
Because of its oxalic acid content, people suffering from gout, rheumatism, kidney disease or kidney stones should only eat beetroot in moderate amounts.
Can be eaten raw or cooked
Beetroot tastes good raw in salads, in smoothies, sliced very thinly as carpaccio and as fermented vegetables. The young leaves can also be used raw.
When cooked, beetroot works well as an ingredient in dishes such as risotto, dumplings, puree, soup and baked vegetables. A splash of red wine can soften an overly earthy taste.
If the whole tubers are cooked, they should be cooked in their shells and then quenched with cold water to make them easier to peel.
If you want to avoid discolored hands and fingernails, it is best to use gloves when preparing or rub your hands with olive oil beforehand and then clean them with lemon juice and hot water. (ad)