Borscht is a form of soup that is very popular in Eastern Europe cuisines, originating from Ukraine. Personally, I discovered this while living in Kazakhstan earlier this year. I have even heard stories of a borscht which includes about 30 ingredients, and is so densely packed that it will make your spoon stand up straight! Still looking for that one.. The cooking time for borscht usually lasts between 3 and 6 hours, with the main ingredient being beetroot. Borscht is generally served hot but can be ate as a cold soup as well. The color of the soup comes from the use of the beetroot. The nutritional properties of the beetroot are what really make it a nutritional powerhouse food.
The ingredients differ by country and also by cook, however along with sour cream and beetroot, the traditional ingredients of borscht notably include:
- Beef stock`
- Tomato paste
- Bay leaf
- Culinary plants
The vegetables used in preparing borscht are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and vitamin B with the ingredients the potential to be combined in different fashions to create unique tastes. The ingredients the cook decide to use in its preparation can substantially differentiate the flavor of borscht.
Health benefits of Borscht
There are several health benefits you can enjoy when eating borscht as a result of the nutrients in the ingredients including reduction of blood pressure, stomach, liver and heart protection, and blood cleansing support!
Reduction of Blood Pressure
Regular eating of borscht may help people who have cases of high blood pressure based on a study published in a 2013 American Heart Association Journal article entitled Hypertension, as it was discovered that people with high blood pressure experienced a drop of 10 mm Hg of their blood pressure after they took 8 ounces of beetroot juice. They started experiencing the benefits about 3 hours after drinking the juice. One of the nutrients contained in beetroot is dietary nitrate, a compound that can improve blood flow and also help to relax the blood vessels.
Stomach, Liver and Heart Protection
Based on a 2007 study that was carried out on rats from Semmelweis University’s Department of Medicine in Budapest, Hungry, it was discovered that eating beets might help to protect the liver. The reason explained for why it could protect the liver is because of the protective compounds found in beets; predominately the compound betaine. Betaine helps to protect the liver and also reduces the level of homocysteine in the body, a harmful substance that contributes to stroke and heart disease. Another benefit of betaine is that it increases the levels of stomach acids people with deficient stomach acid production need.
Blood Cleansing Function of Beets
The main ingredient of borscht, beetroot, helps to create more red blood cells and also cleanse the blood. Beets are very useful for curing and treating anemia. Treatment of leukemia and other cancers has been done with a heavy dose of beet, showing their incredible power. The health benefits associated with beet can actually be enjoyed when you eat borscht. A few other health benefits of beets are:
- They are high in fiber, niacin, calcium iron, biotin, magnesium and potassium
- Beets are good source of phytonutrients called betaines, which provides strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support
The sweetness of beetroot could be a source of concern for people however the fashion in which borscht is cooked nulls any concern of that. It truly is a universal superfood!
The level of health benefit that you derive from eating borscht greatly depends on the type of recipe you use. For instance, when making Polish white borscht; the ingredients used includes sour cream, eggs and bacon broth which will be far less healthy when compared with borscht which was prepared with vegetables and beets. By simply skipping the sour cream, you will create healthier borscht.
You should pay attention to the recipe of borscht that you want to prepare or eat, because the recipe greatly determines the ingredients used in its preparation. It is much healthier to choose a borscht recipe that involves vegetables, but sometimes adding those other ingredients adds just the right touch! Follow these guidelines to make your own and welcome in the benefits of this Ukrainian, power-house food!