by Emily Mathios
You can’t beat beets! Both beet roots and beet juice are becoming a popular health superfood in 2017! Beets’ distinct bright color and earthy flavor make them a great nutritious addition to salads, soups, juices and smoothies.
Aside from being a great source of fiber, iron and other vitamins and minerals like folate,manganese, potassium and copper, beets have some properties that make them extra unique(2). Behind this roots rich red-purple color is a phytochemical known as betanin. Betanin, also known as “beetroot red” is an antioxidant that acts as a natural anti-inflammatory in your body that protects against aging and disease.
Perhaps even more unique are the nitrates found in beets. Nitrates sometimes get a bad reputation because of their association with processed foods and cancer. However, nitrates are found most often naturally in fruits and vegetables! The nitrates found in beets have overall very positive health effects. When consumed, dietary nitrates get converted into nitric oxide which acts as a messenger telling arteries and muscles to relax. The effects of these nitrates along with the potassium in beets makes them a great food for lowering blood pressure (3).
Research has also been conducted that tests the effect of drinking beetroot juice on blood pressure and exercise performance (4). The studies show that by widening blood vessels the nitrates found in beets help increase blood flow and can also reduce the oxygen that muscles need which in turn allows them to work more efficiently. In addition, these nitrates increase the time to fatigue of muscles, allowing longer workouts. While significant research is out there, there still may be more research needed to truly confirm these results.
Adding Beets in your Diet
Having trouble with how to prepare your beets? Try out some of these ideas!
- As a dessert- Beets natural sweet flavor and moisture make them the perfect addition to desserts. Try them in cake or even as ice cream!
- Salads: whether its adding them to your usual favorite salad or trying out a purely beet salad, adding beets is a simple way to jazz up the flavor and add some amazing color. Try: Tomato and Beet Salad.
- Chips: Next time you find yourself reaching for a salty snack try out some beet chips! Thinly sliced, lightly oiled and baked, beets are a nutritious substitute for their greasy counterpart. Check out the recipe below!
- Roasted with goat cheese: Beets and cheese are the perfect pair! Roast beets until they are tender and juicy and then eat them with some greens and goat cheese!
- Smoothies: Aside from the amazing color that beets would add to your smoothie, their earthy flavor pairs great with apples, carrots and spinach! You can even try beet juice as a way to add liquid to thick smoothies.
- When harvested, the entire beet is edible, even including the leaves!
- In ancient times, beets were used as medicine for aches and pains
- Beets can sometimes be used to make homemade wines
- 2-3 medium sized beets
- 2 tsp of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375 F
- Thinly slice the beets either using a knife or a mandolin. Keep in mind that the thinner the slices, the crispier the chips will be
- In a bowl, drizzle the sliced beets with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over top. Mix thoroughly. Wear gloves if using your hands, they will turn red!
- Cook on a sprayed baking sheet for 15-20 min or until crisp
- Bedwell, Sarah-Jane. “10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Beets.” SELF. N.p., 13 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. <http://www.self.com/story/10-facts-didnt-know-beets>.
- Bjarnadottir, Adda, MS. “Beetroot 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Authority Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. <https://authoritynutrition.com/foods//>.
- Coles, Leah T., and Peter M. Clifton. “Effect of Beetroot Juice on Lowering Blood Pressure in Free-living, Disease-free Adults: A Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial.” Nutrition Journal 11.1 (2012): n. pag. Web.
- Ormsbee, Michael, Jon Lox, and Paul Arciero. “Beetroot Juice and Exercise Performance.” Nutrition and Dietary Supplements (2013): 27-34. Web.