Recently I’ve had an overpowering craving for beets. While trying to satisfy my craving, I discovered a really amazing beet humus in the grocery store. In the same section I found a package of pre-cooked beets and also some beet kvass. These new products got me thinking about how other people view beets.
I’ll bet you already know that beets (Beta vulgaris) are a healthy vegetable, but did you know that they have more to offer than just vitamins and minerals?
Beets Benefits: Are Beets good for you? Yes!
High in Folate
Why take a pre-natal pill to increase folate levels in pregnancy when you can eat a delicious roasted beet salad and get what you need instead?
The phytonutrients betanin, isobetanin, and vulgaxanthin are well known to have anti-inflammatory properties. This makes beets very good for degenerative diseases that originate in inflammation such as arthritis, diabetes (be careful to count the carbohydrates as beets are also high in sugar), obesity, and more.
Immune System Support
High in Vitamin C, beets are great for the immune system.
Reduces the Chance of Heart Disease
The betaine contained in beet root has the ability to reduce homocysteine levels in the body. Homocysteine, when it is in high concentration, is a risk factor for heart disease.
Lower Blood Pressure
Some studies have shown that routine consumption of beet juice can lower the systolic blood pressure. In at least one resource I have found it seems that beets might be able to help with protecting the blood from improperly clotting in those that have had problems with issues like deep vein thrombosis.
Natural Detox Support
Two of the phytonutrients in beets are betanin and vulgaxanthin; these have been shown to support the body’s natural detoxification mechanism. To get the most of this benefit, you want to be sure not to peel your beets!
Beets were traditionally used to cleanse the blood and the liver. Studies have shown that the betaine contained within this vegetable is helpful in preventing damage from fatty liver deposits.
If you choose a yellow beet instead of the red, or if you primarily eat the beet greens, your eyes will benefit from the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.
A number of studies are beginning to show promising results with the use of beets in the fight against cancer. In particular, beets have something to offer in the case of colon, stomach, lung, and various reproductive cancers.
How to Eat Your Beets
Most recommendations come in at about 2-3 beet servings per week if you were going to use it as a “treatment.” You can grate your beets, pickle them, steam, or roast them. One of my favorite ways to enjoy beets is in borscht! If you don’t want to eat all those beets each week, you can simply buy beet powder and add up to a teaspoon to a smoothie or juice. One teaspoon powder is equal to one serving of the vegetable.
If you do decide to steam or cook your beets, be aware that the phytonutrients responsible for all the health benefits are sensitive to heat. It is usually recommended that you not cook them for extended periods of time. Keep your roasting to under and hour and steaming to under 15 minutes to be safe.
I love beets and need no encouragement, but hopefully this list of all this delicious root veggie can do inspires you to eat more beets!