This recipe links to the post ‘The Red Hot New Kids on The Block’
Beetroot are unusual because it’s the betalains that give beetroot their blood red stain, rather than the anthocyanins as we have come to expect in red/purple vegetables. This also makes them unique in the way they provide antioxidant protection. Research into this radical root is still in its infancy but lab studies have shown significant tumour shrinking properties for a number of cancers (including stomach, colon, nerve, lung and testicular). It is suggested that it’s the combination of the betalains with high levels of Manganese (another antioxidant) and Vitamin C that make beetroot unique in their form antioxidant activity with particular benefit for eye and nerve tissue health. One thing to mention about the betalains though is that they are more vulnerable to oxygen and losses through cooking than other pigments, because of this I keep the beetroot raw in my falafel mix and keep baking time under 40 minutes in line with the current research.
And if it wasn’t enough that they’re already bucking the trend & cutting new waves in antioxidant colour circles, beetroot are also extremely rich sources of Lutein & Zeaxanthin. If you remember the story of Bugs Bunny (here) these two carotenoids are the big daddies in the health of our eyes. So they may make our fingers (and urine, don’t be scared it’s completely normal!) pink but they’ll also keep our blinkers in tip top condition which I thinks makes for an extremely good trade in our favour!