I was reading a perfectly sane sounding blog the other day which suddenly declared that beetroot was full of oxalic acid and should be avoided in the diets of people with arthritis. The reasoning was that oxalic acid can block calcium absorption and this would lead to a whole host of unpleasant symptoms from crumbling bones through to heart problems. Now, in theory, large doses oxalic acid can affect calcium metabolism and cause health issues but you would have to be consuming pound after pound of high oxalic acid foods for this to be a problem. It's just another myth about diet and arthritis. In fact, beetroot is packed full of vitamins, phytochemicals and blood pressure lowering nitrates. It's a wonderful vegetable for adding sweetness and colour to dishes and really comes into it's own in the Autumn. It also tastes great in this risotto recipe, so tuck in and enjoy - your taste buds and arthritis will thank you for it.
PS. If you'd like to make the parmesan-crusted chicken also shown in the photo, the recipe is here.
250g pre-cooked vacuum packed beetroot
150g risotto rice
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 clove crushed garlic
400ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon light cream cheese
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
Purée two (or half the packet) of the beetroot in a jug with the stock. Chop the other two into rough pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a large, oven-proof dish on the hob. Add in the chopped onion and garlic and cook for a few on a medium heat until softened for about 3-5 minutes. Tip in the rice and stir to coat. Then add the puréed beetroot and stock mixture. Give everything a good stir and then cover the dish and pop it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice is soft and cooked. Mix in the rest of the beetroot, pinch of nutmeg and the cream cheese. Serve.
Arthritis diet notes:
If you want to read more about the health benefits of beetroot, have a look at this post in the 'Arthur Investigate' series on how certain foods in your diet can impact on your health and arthritis.