Such a huge number of superfoods get thrown around that it can be hard to keep track on which you should be eating. And beets have something of a bad reputation – many of us still think of them in the pickled form that our granny’s generation enjoyed. But if you can get past the image problem, there’s a whole lot of good to be done by tucking into the raw, earthy goodness of the humble beet – and plenty of ways to get them into your diet.
Beyond the incredible color of beets, turning from a dulled purple on their rough outer skin to a deep, vibrant and intoxicating pink as you cut into the flesh beneath, this root vegetable also packs more nutrients than you can shake a stick at. It’s a true superfood in every sense of the word, loaded with antioxidants that bring cleansing and detoxifying qualities to the body.
The nutrients in beets include betaine for liver detoxification, pectin for flushing those liver toxins out of the body entirely, and betalain pigments that act as anti-inflammatories to encourage and intensify the detoxification process as a whole. They contain plenty of folic acid, as well as being an excellent source of manganese and potassium. In fact betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets that inimitable color we so adore, is thought to put the brakes on the growth of some types of cancer.
The high levels of fiber in beets also work to increase the body’s natural level of antioxidant enzymes, and its volume of healthy, immunity-boosting white blood cells. The fiber count can also help ease problems with digestion, and is thought to contribute to lower cholesterol levels, too. What’s more, nitrate-rich beets may be beneficial in lowering blood pressure – helping to cut the risk of heart disease and stroke – and even in surviving heart attacks.
Best of all, incorporating all the health benefits of beets into your diet is easy! Perhaps the obvious and commonplace choice is to drink them – beetroot juice is delicious when paired with passion fruit juice, in particular, and blended beets make an earthy and colorful addition to a classic green smoothie of kale, avocado and other leafy vegetables. But you’ll also do well to make vegetarian burgers by adding the juice of beets, carrots, kale and parsley to flax seed patties, and you might even consider serving them with dead-easy beet chips, oven roasted after being drizzled with healthy coconut oil. Beetroot soup is another option – blend roasted beets, carrots, onions, potatoes and swede into stock, and stir in a little horseradish or wasabi for a hint of spice.
A salad of beets, lentils and a handful of crumbled goat’s cheese, on a bed of arugula leaves and dressed in mustard, lemon juice and olive oil, makes for a sprightly desk lunch; or you could just settle for swapping out regular mashed potato for bright and inviting beetroot mash with an irresistible dollop of butter. Finally, don’t be afraid to throw beets into sweet dishes – you can add a cup of beets to your favorite chocolate brownie recipe for a natural red velvet tinge, or try out some indulgent beetroot chocolate truffles, loaded with dates, pecans, almonds and chia seeds for extra healthy bonus points.
Don’t just stick to the roots, either – leafy beet greens are packed with copious amounts of calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. While many of us routinely throw these in the bin as we obsess over the more seductive roots, beet leaves are a good substitute for other leafy vegetables like fellow superfood spinach, and are easily whipped up into a quick and delicious stir-fry.
Eating well doesn’t have to be boring. To find out more about the role that an exciting, stimulating and healthy diet can play in your fitness and wellness regime, give us a call.