Beets, unsurprisingly, always make the cut for the healthiest vegetables list. With its long and impressive list of health benefits, it’s no wonder that health experts have been urging us to incorporate them into our diets. From heart health to cancer-fighting, this deep-colored root will keep your body healthy and taste buds happy.
Let’s break down the top health benefits of beets and a mouth-watering hummus recipe that’s perfect for turning even the biggest beet skeptic into a fan.
The Many Benefits of Beets
Although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, that shouldn’t keep you from enjoying them on a regular basis. Not only are beets delicious, but they’re also packed with nutrients that will keep you body craving more.
Lowers Blood Pressure
By simply eating beets, you can lower your blood pressure in a matter of hours! A study found that drinking a single glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points. The power is found in the naturally occurring nitrates of beets, which convert and metabolize into nitric oxide. This nitric acid relaxes and dilates blood vessels, in turn improving your blood flow and lowering your overall blood pressure.
If you need a boost to get you through your workouts, beets may be your saving grace. In fact, a study proved that people who consumed beets prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer compared to those who didn’t. The argument is that nitrates found in beets turn into nitric acid, which reduces the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise and enhance your tolerance to the effects of high-intensity exercise.
Beets’ high source of betaine help fights inflammation in the body by protecting cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. This betaine fights inflammation, protects your internal organs, improves vascular risk factors and prevents numerous chronic diseases!
Roasted Beet Hummus
This creamy roasted beet hummus has a gorgeous hot pink color. With a tart lemon and savory garlic flavor, this hummus is perfect for any occasion on chips, pita, veggies or even used as a sandwich spread.
1 small roasted beet
1 15 oz. can (1 3/4 cup) cooked chickpeas, mostly drained
zest of one large lemon
juice of half a large lemon
healthy pinch salt and black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 heaping tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 375°F, remove the stem and most of the root from your beets, and scrub and wash them underwater until clean.
Wrap beets in foil, drizzle a bit of canola oil, wrap tightly, and roast for one hour or until a knife inserted falls out without resistance. They should be tender. Set in the fridge (in a bowl to catch juice) to cool to room temperature.
Once your beet is cooled and peeled, quarter it and place it in your food processor. Blend until only small bits remain.
Add remaining ingredients except for olive oil and blend until smooth.
Drizzle in olive oil as the hummus is mixing.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt, lemon juice or olive oil if needed. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water.
Will keep in the fridge for up to a week.