Beets can be found all over the world. But, in ancient times, it was the beet greens that were consumed, while the root that we consume today wasn’t cultivated until the era of ancient Rome.
Starting from 19th century, beets began to be used as a source of sugar (reportedly, Napoleon was responsible for declaring that beets be used as a primary source of sugar after the British restricted access to sugar cane).
Even though they contain the highest sugar content of all vegetables, most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week (and their greens in unlimited quantities).
Beets contain various unique nutrients that cannot be found elsewhere. Here are six reasons why you should include beets in your diet f you haven’t so yet.
- Lower Your Blood Pressure
You can lower your BP in a matter of hours by drinking beet juice. According to a study, drinking one glass of beet juice lowers systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points.
The nitrates in beets are converted into nitric oxide in your body, which helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
- Boost Your Stamina
If you want to endure your workouts more, drink a beet juice before you start exercising. People who drank the juice before exercising were able to endure for up to 16 percent longer.
Again, nitric oxide is responsible because it may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
- Fight Inflammation
The betaine found in beets can protest the cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. Thanks to this nutrient, beets can fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.
As reported by the World’s Healthiest Foods:
“[Betaine’s]… presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”
- Anti-Cancer Properties
Beets get their deep crimson color from the powerful phytonutrients. According to research, beetroot extract reduces multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.
- Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber
Beets contain high levels of vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). They also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
- Detoxification Support
Phase 2 detoxification process is supported by the beltain pigments. Beets are known for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.
Benefits of eating the greens
The greens contain proteins, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, beet greens also supply significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. They contain more iron than spinach.
According to research beets can:
- Help ward off osteoporosis by boosting bone strength
- Fight Alzheimer’s disease
- Strengthen your immune system by stimulating the production of antibodies and white blood cells
You can add the greens raw to vegetable juice or sautéed lightly right along with other greens like spinach and Swiss chard.
Various ways to enjoy beets:
- Grate them raw over salads
- Add them to your fresh vegetable juice
- Lightly steam them
- Marinate them with lemon juice, herbs, and olive oil
Prepare Russian Beet Soup (Borscht)
- 1 quart of organic, homemade broth (preferably beef or buffalo)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 or 4 medium size beets – thinly sliced
- 1 onion – thinly sliced
- 1 cup of shredded red cabbage
- 1/8 cup minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon Sherry (optional)
- Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
- Salt and pepper
- Sour Cream (optional)
Melt the butter over a medium low heat in a medium size soup pot. Then, add onions and beets and cook until soft – about 7 or 8 minutes. Add a dash of salt and pepper. After that, simmer it for about 20min. Then add fresh cabbage, parsley, nutmeg, and sherry. Simmer for a couple minutes more, season with additional salt and pepper, serve, and enjoy. In the end, you can add a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream. Enjoy!