Beets a Power Food for Your Health
People seem to have a love-hate relationship with beets. Whether you love or hate them, there is no question this vegetable packs a bevy of nutritious health benefits. Beets are versatile in their flavor profile, dependent upon how they are prepared. They have an earthy taste when raw, sweet when roasted and tart when fermented. This root vegetable has a wide variety of uses in the kitchen from juicing, salads, soups, pickles, noodles, cakes, and even ice cream. When it comes to beets, you are only limited by your imagination.
Beets are not only delicious, but they are also good for your brain, heart, blood pressure, athletic performance and more. Due to their long term availability in the marketplace, you can enjoy beets almost year-round.
Nutrition Benefits of Beets
Beets are a power-packed root vegetable. They contain high levels of folate, vitamin C and well as manganese and potassium. This root is also low in calories, high in water and fiber content. While beets offer great benefits, the leaves contain significantly higher levels of vitamins and minerals than their root counterpart. Beet greens are especially high in potassium and A, C and K.
Let’s take a look at a partial profile of one cup of cooked beets from The World’s Healthiest Foods website. You can see the complete charts here.
Beets, sliced, cooked|
170.00 gramsCalories: 75
|manganese||0.55 mg||24||5.8||very good|
|copper||0.13 mg||14||3.5||very good|
|vitamin C||6.12 mg||8||2.0||good|
|vitamin B6||0.11 mg||6||1.6||good|
8 Benefits of Beets
Lowers Blood Pressure-Beets have naturally occurring nitrates which convert to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps to dilate and relax blood vessels which actually improves your blood flow which in turn helps to lower blood pressure. It works so well that raw beets can actually lower your blood pressure by 4-5 points within a few hours.
Athletic Performance-Many athletes enjoy the increased stamina benefits of drinking beet juice. Studies show that consuming raw beets can boost stamina by as much as 16 percent due to its high nitric oxide conversion.
Heart Health-Patients diagnosed with heart failure and a reduction in their ability to exercise was also found to benefit from beet juice. Participants were given a 2/3rd cup of beet juice, results showed a near-immediate 13 percent increase in muscle capacity.
Inflammation Fighter– Betalains a pigment in beets has anti-inflammatory properties. While most of this research was done on rats, the results hold promise for us as well. This human study in patients with osteoarthritis showed that capsules made with betalain reduced pain and discomfort and improved joint function.
Brain Health-As previously mentioned beets have naturally occurring nitrates which convert to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps to dilate and relax blood vessels which actually improves your blood flow which may also improve blood flow to the brain.
Digestive Health-Beets are a great source of fiber, which is an essential part of a healthy diet. Consuming healthy amounts of fiber is linked to a reduced risk of many diseases such as diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease.
Cancer Fighter-This study performed on human cells discovered that the extract of beetroot reduced the growth of both breast and prostate cancer cells. So while the testing was not done on actual patients, it warrants additional research.
Liver Detoxification-The betaines in beets do more than just help with blood flow, they help the liver detox and also have the ability to reverse a fatty liver. This particular study was done in rats, but including beats as part of a healthy diet poses little to no risk.
Choosing, Selecting and Storing Beets
Look for small to medium-sized beets. Choose beets that are firm to the touch, without any soft or slimy spots. Beets that are wrinkled, soft or shriveled are old and should be avoided.
When buying beets with leaves, trim all the leaves about two inches from the root, this helps to prevent the leaves from pulling moisture from the beetroot. Store the leaves in a separate container or storage bag. Once cut the leaves will only keep for 3-4 days.
The beets should be kept in your produce drawer of your fridge, you can also store them in a food storage bag that you have removed most of the air from. Beets can be kept up to 3 weeks in your fridge.
Many people eat only the beetroot and toss the greens, but this really a mistake, as the green is easy to prepare and are very nutritious. They actually have more iron than spinach and contain nutrients like B6, copper, fiber, phosphorus, potassium, protein, zinc, magnesium, and manganese.
Beet greens can be juiced with other vegetables, or sautéed as you would spinach.
Looking for some beet recipes to try?
Beet Chips-Slice beets thinly into chips using a mandolin. Place in a bowl and toss them with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Bake them in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp.
Beets are high in oxalates which can cause uric acid to build up in the body which could lead to gout.
Beets are high in sugar, which can be problematic if you are diabetic. Consuming excessive amounts may cause blood sugar spikes.
Oxalate sensitive? Since they are high in oxalates excess consumption can cause kidney and / or bladder stones.
Beets are a versatile root vegetable, available year-round in many markets.
Beet greens are highly nutritious and can be used in numerous dishes.
Beets offer numerous health benefits for brain and heart health, lowering blood pressure, detoxing the liver, improving athletic performance, fighting inflammation and more!
Individuals with diabetes or oxalate sensitivity should limit their consumption of beets due to its higher sugar and oxalate levels.
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