Borscht is a form of soup that is very popular in Eastern Europe cuisines, originating from Ukraine. I discovered this food while living in Kazakhstan back in 2015, where my (now) wife showed it to me for the first time.
There are many different ways to make borscht, and I have even heard stories of borscht which includes about 30 ingredients, and is so densely packed that it will make your spoon stand up straight!
I’m 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 you can eat it as a cold soup as well.
The color of the soup comes from the use of the beetroot.
The number of vitamins and minerals in the beetroot are what makes borscht a true a nutritional powerhouse!
Nutritional Information for Borscht – Is Borscht Good for You?
The ingredients differ by the country and also by the 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. The ingredients the cook decides to use in its preparation can substantially differentiate the flavor of borscht.
My wife makes an excellent pot of borscht, but you can find dramatically different tasting borscht which is delicious as well!
Borscht Health Benefits
There are several health benefits that eating borscht provides for the human body as a result of the nutrients in the ingredients. A few of the notable health benefits of borscht include:
- Reduction of Blood Pressure
- Stomach, Liver, and Heart Protection
- Cleansing of the Blood and Circulatory System
Reduction of Blood Pressure
Based on a study published in the American Heart Association Journal in 2013, regularly eating borscht is likely an excellent holistic solution for people with high blood pressure issues.
One of the nutrients contained in beetroot is dietary nitrate, a compound that can improve blood flow and help to relax the blood vessels. This dietary nitrate is the reason that borscht is likely an excellent food for reducing your blood pressure.
The study demonstrated that individuals with high blood pressure experienced a drop of 10 mm Hg of their blood pressure after they drank 8-ounces of beetroot juice. The individuals that were tested started experiencing the benefits of drinking beetroot juice about 3-hours after drinking the juice.
Although these results are not entirely conclusive, the evidence shows it is likely eating borscht is a great way to reduce your blood pressure.
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 beats 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 in people with deficient stomach acid production.
Blood Cleansing Function of Beets
The main ingredient of borscht, beetroot, helps to create more red blood cells and cleanse the blood. Beets are very useful for curing and treating anemia.
Treatment of leukemia and other cancers have been done with a heavy dose of beetroot, showing their incredible power. You can enjoy the blood cleansing health benefits associated with beet when you eat borscht, which is why you should include this superfood in your diet weekly!
Additional Beetroot Health Benefits
A few other health benefits of beets are:
High in valuable vitamins and micronutrients including:
As I said before, beets are a good source of the phytonutrient betaine, which provides strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support.
There are many other health benefits of eating borscht depending on the ingredients you choose, and it truly is a universal superfood!
Alternative Variations of Borscht
The health benefits that you derive from eating borscht greatly depend on the type of recipe you use.
For instance, when making Polish white borscht; the ingredients used include 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. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you can avoid the ingredients which don’t fit your diet, and make vegan or vegetarian borscht!
It is much healthier to choose a borscht recipe that involves more vegetables, but sometimes adding more of those other ingredients adds just the right taste-touch!
Follow these guidelines to make your own and welcome in the benefits of this Ukrainian, power-house food!
What Should You Cook Borscht In?
Borscht is generally made in a large pot, and recipes differ from family to family. In fact, borscht recipes can differ even within family recipes, as people develop their own borscht recipe as they make it more often.
One way you can make your life easier is by cooking borscht in an Instapot or pressure cooker. If you buy a large Instapot or pressure cooker, you can easily control the temperature and time it takes for you to cook borscht.
Cooking borscht in an Instapot or pressure cooker is an excellent form of hygienic cooking!
Here is an example of an Instapot you can use to cook borscht: