Beetroot is easy to find in the shops at this time of year. I love everything about it – the colour, taste and the fact it is so good for your health! Along with containing Vitamin C and A, beetroot is said to help with conditions such as fever, constipation and is also considered an aphrodisiac!
In Chinese Medicine food contains both nutritional qualities and energetic qualities. Energetically, beetroot is a very Blood nourishing and according to Daverick Leggett in his book Helping Ourselves: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics beetroot also regulates Qi and counteracts Cold. When working with patients who are Blood Xu they are energetically Blood deficient and I often recommend they eat beetroot. It is worth noting the word Blood in Chinese medicine has a much broader meaning and function than the word blood in Western Medicine!
What is Blood Xu?
Blood Xu is an umbrella term for a collection of signs and symptoms that present alongside Blood deficiency. Some symptoms may be more pronounced than others and, although not definitive, a good indication your energy is compromised and your Blood may be depleted. The correct acupuncture treatment will focus on restoring your Blood and energy levels to restore healthy balance.
How do I know if I am Blood Xu?
Key signs and symptoms include-
Pale & dull complexion
Pale lips & tongue
Difficulty getting to sleep
Blurred vision or floaters
Dry skin & hair
General anxiety or slight depression
Liver Blood Deficiency
Numbness or weakness in muscles & tendons
Weak or pale fingernails
Scanty or absent menstruation
Heart Blood Deficiency
What can I do to support my body?
Along with acupuncture treatment you can add certain foods to your diet to support your Blood and energy levels such as beetroot. Below are 2 easy, tasty recipes for you to try.
Beetroot Soup / Borscht
This is a great recipe. I’ve made quite a few Borscht recipes and most tend to be a bit of a faff with quite lot of ingredients but not much taste! This is my favourite recipe and I eat all year round. It is especially good in the winter as it is so nourishing and warming and I often have it for breakfast! I changed the traditional recipe in the following ways –
- Leave out the beef and beef stock – beef is another great food that nourishes Blood in Chinese Medicine, this is just personal preference
- Add fresh dill after it is cooked and is cooling down.
- Make this with fresh ingredients – I have tried this with pre-cooked vacuum beetroot and passata to save time but it doesn’t taste as nice
- Usually leave out the feta cheese unless I have friends visiting
Preparation time 30 mins
Cooking time 30-45 mins
Serves 6 (it doesn’t last long in our home – I usually make a double batch and freeze some portions to use it throughout the month as a Blood tonic!
3-4 medium (apple sized) beetroot, about 600g, (grated or chopped into small dice, if grated it cooks quicker!)
500g ripe tomatoes (1 pack of 5 to 6 tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
500ml stock (I use Marigold Organic Vegan Bouillon powder)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Large bunch of fresh dill, coarsely chopped after removing larger stalks
125g Greek feta cheese (optional)
1. Halve the tomatoes and place in an ovenproof dish. Add some garlic and a drizzle of oil
2. Roast the tomatoes for 30 mins at 180 degrees so they are soft and pulpy. Rub through a sieve and discard the skin and pips.
3. Heat remaining oil in a pan. Sweat the onion until soft then add the garlic. Add the beetroot and stock and bring to the boil.
4. Season with salt and black pepper and turn down to simmer for 20 minutes or until beetroot is tender.
5. Stir in the tomato puree and the dill.
6. When cool transfer the soup to a blender. I use a hand blender and process keeping it little chunky! Taste and season again if required.
7. Serve hot – reheat the soup later and divide in bowls with crumbled feta on top. Serve with crusty bread or oatcakes
8. Serve cold – chill the soup in the fridge divided into bowls. You can sprinkle some feta or grated beetroot to garnish.
This is a nice twist on traditional hummus and has a lovely colour and flavour.
Preparation time 1hr 10min
Serves 6- 8
500g beetroot, trimmed
1 large onion, chopped
60ml olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
400g tinned chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp tahini
900g low fat yoghurt (optional, I add some extra water to thin down the hummus)
3 cloves garlic, crushed (if the cloves are large I only add 2)
60 ml lemon juice
125ml vegetable stock (I use Marigold Organic Vegan Bouillon powder)
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1. Scrub the beetroot and wrap in foil. Bake in an oven at 180 degrees until soft, around 1 hour. Remove and cool slightly before rubbing off the skin.
2. Meanwhile, fry the onion in ½ the oil until soft but not browned. Add cumin and cook for 1 further minute.
3. Chop the beetroot, then blend in a food processor or blender with the onion mixture, chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, stock, salt & pepper and yoghurt (if using).
Blend until smooth.
4. With the blender running add the remaining oil steadily and slowly until well mixed. Add more water if the consistency is too thick.
5. Serve or place in a container in the fridge for use within 3 days.
Don’t have time to make these recipes? Other ways you can add beetroot to your diet include grating raw beetroot over a salad, roasting beetroot in a tray of mixed roast vegetables or adding cold cooked beetroot to a fruit smoothie. You can also try washing the stalks and leaves and adding them to soups and salads!