Woe to the underrated beet. When I was a kid, the only thing I knew of beets either came in a can, or in my grandmother’s borscht. (Love my grandmother, hated her borscht!) In my travels around the world I never encountered another beet. It wasn’t until I moved to London that I discovered beetroot in all its glory.
Whether they were juiced, fermented, roasted or boiled, I could not get enough of these reddish purple gems. While most of you understand that eating a cornucopia of colorful fruits and vegetables is a great way to get a variety of antioxidants, but beets have many more benefits than simply being free radical scavengers.
For example, did you know that beets were rich in boron, a mineral that seems to “help out” all sorts of minerals, (such as Vitamin D and magnesium) and forms complexes with carbohydrates, vitamins, and enzymes as well as oxygen to be able to influence most biological systems. It plays a key role in bone health as it “coordinates” Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and phophorous, the major nutrients for building and maintaining healthy bone density helping prevent osteoporosis. In fact, a boron rich diet lessens the deficiencies of both Vitamin D and magnesium and prevents excretion from urine (which is important for post menopausal women as estrogen usually contributes to keeping this process in check.) Boron is present in soil and water (and since beets are a root vegetable this is where they get their boron) which means that areas in which the soil is boron poor have greater incidences of arthritis as boron levels in bones of arthritis sufferers is low.
Boron is also good for boosting libido, having been used since Roman times as an aphrodisiac. Boron is a factor in the production of valuable sex hormones. Boron also may potentially modify the insulin response to what we eat, aid the immune system and even potentially reduce risk for autoimmune diseases.
Beets are rich in silica (something we will be discussing at length tomorrow), important for utilizing calcium in the body, which means, in addition to boron, stronger bones but also healthier skin, nails, teeth, and hair too.
Research has shown that beets help lower blood pressure. One study involving healthy volunteers, showed that approximately 3 hours after drinking 500 ml of beet juice, blood pressure was substantially reduced which correlated with peak increases in plasma nitrite concentration, nitrite being the blood pressure reducing ingredient.
Beets are full of soluble fiber but have a healthy mix of fructose and glucose in addition to being rich in minerals and essential nutrients helping stabilize blood sugar. They also contain carotenoids and flavonoids which prevent LDL (bad cholesterol) from being oxidized and deposited into the arteries and other tissues.
Beets can help with anemia and fatigue due to their high iron content. In fact, in the 16th century, beets were the ‘de rigeur’ treatment as a ‘blood builder’ in the palid and sickly.
Folic acid rich, one large or three baby beets a day provide 75% of the RDA of folate which is great for expectant moms or those who plan on conceiving. (Juice them or grate them into a salad as cooking them reduces the amount of folate.) I can’t seem to get enough of them.
Beets even have slimming and detox properties!
This “Fat Flush” juice brought to you by the people at Prevention.com guarantees to build the blood and “clean out” the system leading to a flatter tummy!
1 medium organic red beet
3 medium organic carrots
1 organic radish
2 organic garlic cloves
large handful of organic parsley
JUICE all ingredients.
What’s your favorite way to eat beets? If you aren’t a beet lover yet, have we inspired you to become one?