It's a hot day here in Manchester today and I'm feeling like having a cooling salad.
I'm basing my salad around beetroot, which is a great source of fibre and nutrients whereas fennel seeds help to promote digestion and prevent bloating and spasms.
Beetroots have been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to treat anaemia and fatigue. They have many health benefits and may be used therapeutically:
- Help lower blood pressure. A study found that drinking one glass of beetroot juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points. This is probably due to naturally occurring nitrates in beetroots, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps to relax/dilate blood vessels and improves blood flow resulting in lower blood pressure and improved oxygenation. Fennel seeds also contain nitrates which will also help to lower blood pressure.
- Help energise the body. Beetroot has a naturally sweet and earthy taste, which may also help curb sugar carvings. The improved blood flow resulting from the release of nitric oxide helps oxygenate tissues and remove cellular wastes.
- A source of minerals, which support many body systems. For example beetroots contain minerals like iron and folic acid, which help build healthy blood cells and potassium and manganese, which support nerve and muscle health.
- A source of fibre and prebiotics. Beetroots are a great source of soluble fibre, which helps to mop up excess cholesterol and acts as a food source which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria within the gut.
- Support liver detoxification and may help to reduce inflammation. Beetroots are a source of the nutrient betaine, which has anti-inflammatory properties and helps the liver process toxins for excretion.
- Contain Anti-oxidants. Betacyanin, the main phytonutrient which gives beetroots their deep red colour is a powerful antioxidant with tumour-reducing properties. In a studydone at the Howard University, Washington DC, it was found that betacyanin helped slow the growth of tumours by 12.5% in patients with breast and prostate cancer.
Here's how I made my beetroot salad
1 large beetroot
2 tsp fennel seeds
6 pitted dates
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- I toasted my fennel seeds in my cast iron skillet to help release aroma and essential oils from the seeds.
- I let my toasted fennel seeds cool, whilst I peeled and grated my beetroot.
- I chopped the dates and added them to my grated beetroot along with the cooled toasted fennel seeds
- I then added some olive oil, apple cider vinegar and black pepper to help balance the sweet earthy flavours in this salad.
I teamed my beetroot salad with some spinach, tomato, cucumber and feta.
Perfect for lunch on this hot day.