- Lockdown toilet horror! BIG drama in the Collins’ house this week.
- Do you suffer from “beeturia”? Here’s what to check immediately if you get it.
- Why this ‘evil’ vegetable is so good for your heart
Not much drama happens at the moment.
I don’t mean on telly or in international affairs.
But in everyday lockdown life.
Each day is pretty much the same. Although occasionally there’s a bit of excitement…
I might hit my shin on the side of the coffee table…
I might get an entire eggbox full of ‘double yolkers’…
Or I might get a parcel delivered that I tear open with joy until I realise that it’s for the next-door neighbour.
(All of these thrilling things have happened to me.)
However, there was a moment of real drama last Sunday.
After I went to the toilet (sorry to be frank here) I was shocked to see blood in the bowl.
“LARA!” I yelled in panic.
I tried to think what could be wrong with me…
All sorts of scenarios ran through my head – and none of them particularly pleasant.
Then it came back to me…
What I did the previous night…
After a bottle of wine with Lara, and a few ports (it was Saturday night, don’t judge me!) I raided the fridge.
And I ate an entire packet of juniper and black pepper beetroot.
Yes, it wasn’t real blood.
Instead it was the “bloody beet”!
That was why the toilet turned red.
This briefly dramatic incident teaches a lesson about:
- The perils of drink
- The perils of raiding fridges at night
But I should also take it as a bit of a warning sign about my nutritional intake.
Why you should be wary of “beeturia”
There’s actually a name for the medical phenomenon when your urine or stool turns red after eating beetroot.
It’s known as “beeturia”.
It occurs when your body doesn’t break down the compound betanin, a pigment that gives beetroot its ferocious red colour.
After you eat beets, this compound makes its way through your body to the kidneys. From there it is flushed from the body, resulting in red urine.
But it doesn’t happen to everybody.
Some people have more difficulty breaking down this pigment than others.
This isn’t necessarily a problem.
However, if it starts happening when it didn’t before, then have a look at your iron intake.
This is because having red (or pink) urine after eating beetroot has been linked to an iron deficiency.
A 1999 study in The Lancet showed that beeturia occurs in 66-80 percent of people with iron deficiency anaemia.
Other symptoms of iron deficiency to watch for include:
- leg cramps
- mood swings
So this is something I am going to address, with some iron-rich food in my diet over the coming weeks, including shellfish, kidney beans, chickpeas, nuts, spinach, red meat and pumpkin seeds.
It’s also worth getting hold of a good bioavailable iron supplement like this one: Iron Supplement.
With ingredients sourced from wholefoods, this delivers the iron you need in the way nature intended. It also contains added B vitamins, beta glucans and amino acids.
Another reason why you might get beeturia…
A sign of low stomach acid
A normal level of stomach acid helps you properly absorb minerals, nutrients, and vitamins from your food. It also kills harmful bacteria.
However, with low stomach acid, you don’t break down foods properly, causing flatulence and bloating. It can sometimes also lead to heartburn, nausea and diarrhoea.
This is another problem linked to beeturia.
Natural ways to remedy this problem include:
- Slow down your eating, take smaller bites and chew your food properly – this gets the digestive process off to the right start, leaving less for your stomach to do.
- Avoid processed foods and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Eat fermented vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles. These not only increase your stomach acid levels but fight harmful bacteria and reduce inflammation.
- Drink apple cider vinegar – this is rich in enzymes that help break down bacteria in food. Its acidic qualities add more acid into your digestive tract.
Do you recall that ginger and carrot soup recipe I gave you the other week? Then try making that too.
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, often used as an aid for acid reflux and other gastrointestinal problems.
To get a recap on that recipe, take a look at this blog post on The Good Life Letter website: ginger & carrot soup
The benefits of this ‘evil’ vegetable
Beetroot is an evil vegetable that can frighten a middle-aged man after going to the toilet.
But I continue to eat them because they’re very good for you.
Beets can improve liver function, lower levels of bad cholesterol and also lower your triglyceride levels. This decreases the likelihood of fatty deposits forming around your heart.
Which is why beetroot is sometimes known as the ‘cardiovascular vegetable’.
Back in 2008, a series of trials at The London School of Medicine looked at the effects of beetroot consumption.
The team found that just three hours after drinking 500ml of beetroot juice (the equivalent of eating five medium-sized beetroots) there was a significant decrease in the volunteers’ blood pressure.
These effects were still noticeable 24 hours later.
Beetroot is also packed with iron, and rich in vitamin C which your body needs for good iron absorption and strong immunity.
For me, there’s nothing better than eating it pickled with grilled mackerel or salmon. This gives you a big dose of omega-3 fatty acids to help your brain and joints.
You can also add the young leaves to salads, which gives you a boost in dietary fibre, and keeps your digestive system ticking over.
The only downside is that you should avoid beetroot if you have a high risk of kidney or gall stones. This is because it contains high levels of oxalates.
And if you do notice pink wee after eating beets, then don’t worry, but do consider looking at your diet and eating habits.