What Magic Ingredient Makes This Jam Healthy?

Beets with leaves.

Belonging to the same family as chard and spinach, both the leaves and root of beets may be eaten – the leaves having a bitter taste whereas the root is sweet. (Image: Softdreams via Dreamstime)

I love jam; it’s so delicious. You can have it on your toast, on a scone, or put it on a sponge cake, yum! Unfortunately, the main ingredient in it is sugar, which is not good in high amounts, so I’ve had to use it sparingly, until now.

I have found a recipe for a healthy jam that includes vegetables. I bet I have you thinking, will it taste any good with vegetables in it? It definitely will, because the vegetable is beets. Beets are sweet, and they have so many health benefits.

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Belonging to the same family as chard and spinach, both the leaves and root of beets may be eaten – the leaves having a bitter taste whereas the root is sweet.

What are the top 5 health benefits of beets?

1. May have anti-cancer properties

The plant pigment that gives beets its rich, purple-crimson color is betacyanin, a powerful agent thought to help suppress the development of some types of cancer, including bladder cancer.

2. May lower blood pressure

Beets are naturally rich in compounds called nitrates, making them heart-friendly. Nitrates help to improve blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels, reducing arterial stiffness, and promoting dilation, which potentially lowers blood pressure. A reduction in blood pressure is beneficial for the avoidance of heart disease and stroke. Studies suggest that nitrate-rich foods, like beets, may also help in heart attack survival.

Beet juice and beets.
Beet juice has also gained popularity since Paralympic gold medalist David Weir announced that a shot of the juice was his secret to success. (Image: Olga Kriger via Dreamstime)

3. May improve exercise performance and support energy levels

Beet juice has also gained popularity since Paralympic gold medallist David Weir announced that a shot of the juice was his secret to success.

Studies support this with findings, reporting that when athletes add beet juice to their regime, it may support exercise endurance and improve performance. It also aids recovery because when muscles are in a resting state, the nitrates in beets help to bring more oxygen to the muscle cells helping muscles recover more efficiently. For the rest of us, including beets in our diets might be the energy boost we need.

4. May improve digestive health

Beets are one of the richest sources of glutamine, an amino acid essential to the health and maintenance of our gut. They’re also rich in fiber, which, as well as supporting bowel function, helps support the environment of the gut and the beneficial bacteria that reside there.

5. May be anti-inflammatory

Red beets have been ranked as one of the 10 most potent antioxidant vegetables. The betalain compounds, responsible for the root’s red color, have been shown to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. This means they help protect cells from damage and may be helpful in the fight against age-related conditions like heart disease and cancer.

Beet jam and a beet.
Beet and berry jam. (Image: Inna Brailchuk via Dreamstime)

Beet and berry jam

First, start by picking out your favorite fresh berries, around two cups. I use raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries.

Next, roast a beet, enough so it makes one cup. Place it in the oven wrapped in foil and bake at 350°F for about 90 minutes. Once cooked, it is easy to slice up.

Next, mash the fruit and beets in a food processor — use the pulse setting and only a few times; you want your jam to stay a bit chunky. You could also use a potato masher if you don’t have a food processor.

Next, place in a saucepan and bring to a boil with 3/4 cup water. Add 1 packet of Sure-Jell Pectin (no sugar needed variety) and 1 teaspoon Stevia.

After boiling for 1 minute, remove it from the heat and let it cool. Store in the fridge for sandwiches and toast!

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