The Amazing Benefits of Beets

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Beets are kind of amazing. I’m always shocked when people say they don’t like beets…I think maybe they just don’t know how to prepare them! This recipe is super simple, yummy, and packed with nutrition. I’ve talked about the health benefits of beets before, especially beet juice. Here’s a little refresher from care2.com on the many health benefits of beets!

8 Healthy Reasons to Eat Beets:

1. Weight Loss
Beets taste sweet, but a cup of cooked beet contains only 60 calories and is full of fiber. This is a perfect food for weight management.The sugars in beets are smart carbs, since they come in a natural whole food form. Unlike white sugar, the beet calories come with a lot of nutrients and phytochemicals.

2. Brain and Energy Boost
Beets are high in natural nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is known to expand the walls of blood vessels so you can enjoy more oxygen, more nutrients, and more energy.

Studies have shown nitric oxide to increase the efficiency of the mitochondria (your energy powerhouses). The results of these studies were impressive.

A single small serving (70 ml) of beetroot juice reduced resting blood pressure by 2%.
A single small serving increased the length of time professional divers could hold their breath by 11%.
Cyclists who drank a single larger serving (500 ml) of beetroot juice were able to ride up to 20% longer.

3. Nature’s Viagra
One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac. Many plants have been considered an aphrodisiac by some culture at some time, but in this case it may be more than just wishful thinking.

As noted above, beets can increase blood flow due to their nitrates. Increased blood flow to the genital areas is one of the mechanisms Viagra and other pharmaceuticals create their effects. Beets also contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.

4. Super Antioxidant for a Long, Healthy, Pain-Free Life
Antioxidants help to reverse the daily accumulated wear and tear on the body, known as aging. Beets are a very good source of commonly known antioxidants like vitamin C and manganese, but it is their lesser-known antioxidants which give them their true value.

The blood-red color of beets comes from a powerful group of antioxidants called betalains. There are hundreds of studies on the positive health benefits of betalains. A short summary of the results shows that they help in the areas of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and inflammation. If you go to Google Scholar and type in ‘betalains,’ you will see 3790 scholarly references on this subject.

Yummy spiralized beet salad – via Linda Wagner

5. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
The inflammatory response is a natural function of the body which saves our lives when it responds to the acute stresses in our lives, like bacterial infection and injury. Due to the constant stress in our modern lives, however, this inflammation becomes chronic. It is as though our body is constantly in a battle. Inflammation has been linked to a number of symptoms and diseases including:

Wrinkles
Susceptibility to infections
Cancer
Arthritis
Bronchitis
Chronic pain
Diabetes
High blood pressure
Osteoporosis
Heart disease
Candidiasis
The blood-red betalains in beets have been shown to reduce chronic inflammation.

6. Cancer Prevention
Preliminary tests suggest that beetroot ingestion can be one of the useful means to prevent lung and skin cancer. Other studies have shown that beet juice inhibits the formation of cancer-causing compounds called nitrosamines.

7. Cell Detoxification and Cleansing
The antioxidants in beets have been shown to support what is called phase 2 cleansing. In phase 2 cleansing, unwanted toxic substances are chemically combined with a small nutrient group. This combination neutralizes the toxin and makes them sufficiently water-soluble so they can be excreted through the urine.

This is therefore deep cleansing on a cellular level, that may have long term health benefits.

8. Improved Mental Health
The betalains in beets has been used in certain treatments of depression. It also contains tryptophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being, similar to chocolate. Enjoy!

Yummy spiralized beet salad – via Linda Wagner

If you’re ready to add more beets into your life, this is a fun and very simple recipe to try!

You’ll need:

3 med sized beets, spiralized
1/4 avocado as garnish
1 tsp sesame seeds
a couple sprigs of cilantro as garnish

Use a spiral slicer to turn your beets into noodles!! I LOVE my spiral slicer, it’s so much fun! I use it to make all kinds of veggie noodles!

Liquid Gold Dressing (adapted from The Raw Food Detox Diet):

2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 whole cloves garlic
3 Tbs fresh minced ginger
3 Tbs Tamari (available through iherb.com or in the Asian section at your local health food store)
2 droppersful NuNaturals liquid stevia (alternately you could use 3 heaping tsps raw honey)
1.5 cups cold-pressed olive oil
handful of brazil nuts (about 8 total) – just 2 Brazil nuts a day will provide you with your daily selenium requirements!

Simply blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. This will make about 4 cups.

Place your spiralized beets in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing on top. Mix well to combine and garnish with a sesame seeds, avocado, and cilantro

You will have plenty of the liquid gold dressing leftover. It is awesome on salads, as a veggie dip, or a sauce to use on sandwiches!! It is great to have on hand and may become one of your favorites! I love making a simple salad of romaine, shredded carrots, diced avocado, red bell pepper and fresh corn. The flavors really pop with the Liquid Gold dressing!

Hopefully I’ve inspired you to eat more beets!! The benefits are totally worth it!

Source: lindawagner.net/blog/2013/05/health-benefits-of-beets/index.html
Image: flickr.com