You might remember as a kid hearing “eat your beets, they’re good for you” on many occasions. It turns out, your parents were right – beets are good for you! But not just regular good, they’re really, really good for you. So here’s why you should consider adding more beets to your meals:
More than just a root
Originally, beets were grown in Northern climates strictly for their greens, then people discovered that the bulb was pretty good too. Today you can add both to your meals for double the goodness. However, due to the fact that the root does contain a high level of natural sugars, people who need to watch their sugar intake should limit their consumption and focus more on the greens.
Blood Pressure Magic
Okay, maybe more science than magic, but studies have shown that drinking a glass of beet juice can reduce your systolic blood pressure by 4-5 points – that’s no small feat! Scientists believe that this is due to the high level of nitrates found in beets, which once converted by the body into nitric oxide helps to relax the blood vessels.
Nutrients and Fiber Galore
Forget oranges, eat beets for a good dose of vitamin C. In addition you can find high quantities of fiber as well as potassium, manganese, and folate for expecting moms. Beets are also an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye health among other things. As with any dark-colored fruit or vegetable, beets are a fantastic source of antioxidants which can help reduce toxins in cells, cut the risk of certain cancers, even lessen the growth rate of certain tumors in humans. They also offer anti-inflammatory properties which is good news for people suffering from arthritis, atherosclerosis (heart disease) and complications associated with Type II Diabetes.
Consuming Beets – Easy!
Back in the day beets were often pickled or overcooked – which is perhaps why many people don’t like beets as kids and rediscover them in adulthood. You can enjoy beetroot and beet greens fresh, although many people prefer a light steaming or roasting of beets to soften them up a bit. You can also use beets in juicing recipes, although then you won’t get the fiber benefits, but you will get the nutrients and a sweet taste (not to mention that gorgeous color!)
On cooler, rainy days nothing beats a warm cup of Borscht, so grab some beets and get cooking! To add beets to your salad or just as a wonderful side, roasted beets are the best way to go. Try this roasted beets recipe for your next meal. And toss raw or roasted beetroot or beet greens (or add both) into your next smoothie for a shot of beet power! Enjoy!