Feel The Beet
January 16th, 2018
Feel The Beet
Written January 11 2018; Published January 16 2018
by Miranda Murray
Beetroot, or beets, are the perfect example of delicious and nutritious! High in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, plant compounds, anti-inflammatory molecules, and phytonutrients, beets are respected as a root vegetable that can help prevent cancer, reduce inflammation, promote eye, brain, and digestive health, support your heart, and purify your blood!
Not only are they versatile and can be easily added to your diet, their earthy and sweet flavor makes them delicious and easy to love! But it doesn’t stop there, the leafy beet greens are full of nutrients and can also be enjoyed!
Beets are normally known to be purple/red in color, but you can also find beets in orange or golden-yellow tones as well. The beet greens above the beetroot are packed with nutrients and often consumed, like spinach, in salads or smoothies.
Benefits of Beets
- Detoxes and Purifies the Blood. Because it’s my favorite benefit, I’ll start with the purifying and detoxification qualities beets possess. Due to compounds called “glutathiones” found in beets, they are natural blood cleansers. They help you detoxify and cleanse the blood of heavy metals, waste, and toxins! Doesn’t that sound so freeing?! The glutathiones aid in the liver’s function, helping the purifying process along. Also, the fiber content in beets helps to clear up the digestive tract and regulate bowel movements.
- Promotes Heart Health. In the past, nitrates have been thought to be harmful when found in things like bacon and low-quality packaged deli meats, but the nitrates that are found in vegetables have been shown to have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. Beets also contain betaine and choline, which are anti-inflammatory compounds; they help to combat high blood pressure and maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
- Physical Performance. The nitrates found in beets have been proven to boost energy and performance for athletes at all levels. The body readily uses up the nitrates to increase physical performance and recovery! The best time to consume beets for this benefit is 2 to 3 hours before performing physical activity.
- …and Sexual Performance. Once again, thanks to nitrates and boron (2 hormone regulating substances,) beets have been shown to boost and support sex drive by increasing blood flow to the sex organs. In plenty of cultures, beets are thought of as an aphrodisiac. The many other benefits of beets simply help to support a healthy body overall, which is beneficial to maintaining sex drive, especially as we age.
- Anti-Inflammatory. The body uses cyclo-oxygenase enzymes to trigger inflammation, beets hinder this activity with it’s anti-inflammatory compounds. Prolonged inflammation in the body can lead to a plethora of diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; however, a diet abundant in whole foods reduces levels on inflammation and improves the functionality of almost every system in your body.
- Cancer Preventing. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and disease-combating phytonutrients are abundant in beets, all of which help support a cancer preventative bodily state. Beets have been shown to help prevent breast, colon, lung, and stomach cancer. Interestingly, the highest amounts of these substances are found in the beet greens! Enjoy them like you would spinach, in salads, smoothies, or saute’s.
How To Prepare and Enjoy Beets
When shopping for beets, choose ones that are firm and smooth – avoid beets that have soft spots or bruises. Peak beet season is June through October.
In preparation, I like to peel my beets in the same fashion as you would a carrot or potato. When working with organic beets, however, peeling is not necessary but rather a personal preference.
There are lots of ways to enjoy beets! The most beneficial way is to eat them raw, this ensures that you don’t loose any of their nutrients through the cooking process. Slice them up for a salad or juice them – I often eat beets by just peeling them, slicing them up and sprinkling some salt on them!
If you prefer cooked beets, it’s recommended to steam them. By minimally steaming them, you’re still keeping most of the nutrients. Peel the beets and cut them up, steam them to your prefered softness. I’ve even microwaved my beets before to soften them up a bit; I just poured some water over them after peeling and cutting, and microwaved for a few minutes. Take note: don’t be alarmed if you see them spark in the microwave! This is common and happens because of their density and minerals found within them.
You can also boil or roast beets! When cooked, they take on a sweeter flavor. Some have even referred to thinly sliced, roasted beets as “vegetable candy” because of how delicious they are!
With all the various ways to enjoy beets, it should be easy to incorporate them into your quest for a healthy lifestyle; just beet it!
Sources: Dr. Axe
*I am not a doctor, nutritionist or scientist but I have spent the past 5 years soaking up information I’ve gathered through various websites, by attending numerous informational meetings and working with nutritionists and fitness trainers.