Let the Beet Drop

Let the Beet Drop

They’re beautiful and red, but oooh dear. Beets can be a messy, messy situation. (Speaking from experience here – new white shirt not so new-looking anymore!) But despite my ruined white shirt (I’ll get over it eventually), beets are totally worth the mess.
 
WHY ARE BEETS GOOD FOR MY HEALTH?
Beets are a great source of many nutrients, including Vitamin A, B-Vitamins (especially folate, or B9), Vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and iron.
 
They’re also an amazing source of phytonutrients, plant compounds that have amazing disease-fighting properties, such as:
  • Betalains: are the phytonutrient pigments that give beets their colour, they are high in antioxidants and play a role in liver detoxification. Vitamin C and manganese found in beets also provide antioxidant support along side betalains.
  • Betaine: is made from the B-Vitamin Choline (B7) with 3 methyl groups attached. This nutrient plays a huge anti-inflammatory role in the cardiovascular system by regulating inflammation through prevention of homocysteine build up. Increased homocysteine and inflammation in the blood contributes to heart disease.
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Carotenoid phytonutrients found mostly in the beet greens. These nutrients provide antioxidant support and are thought to play a role in eye health. 
  • Recent research on human cancer cells shows that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients are helping to lessen tumor growth by inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzymes. It is seen to have an effect on colon, stomach, nerve, lung, breast, prostate and testicular cancers. 
Eating beets can also help lower blood pressure. Studies suggest the nitrate content of beets is responsible for this. When processed by the body, nitrates are converted to nitric oxide, which is shown to increase vasodilation (relaxation/opening) the blood vessels, helping
oxygen to circulate to the body.
 
More recently, researchers and athletes are becoming interested in the effects of beets on endurance. Studies show that athletes who consume beet juice before a work out are able to increase their endurance up to 16%.
 
You may have noticed from experience that beets can make your urine turn pink. Don’t worry, its harmless. This does, however, tell you something about your digestion. Pink urine as a result of eating beets could point to low stomach acid: a sign of impeded digestion, iron deficiency, or excess and/or malabsorption. If your urine is not coming out clear, it’s a good idea to check in with your healthcare practitioner.
 
Get the most nutrition out of your beets by keeping cooking times low (steaming- less than 15 minutes, roasting – less than 1 hour) because the betalains are not heat stable. Beets can be eaten raw in juices or salads, or minimally cooked by steaming or roasting.
 
Check out our delish recipe for Beet Hummus – its amazing!
 
RESOURCES:
www.whfoods.com
Kapil V, et al. Inorganic Nitrate Supplementation Lowers Blood Pressure in Humans : Role for Nitrite-Derived NO. Hypertension 56:274-28, 2010
Webb, AJ et al. Acute Blood Pressure Lowering, Vasoprotective, and Anti
platelet Properties of Dietary Nitrate via Bioconversion to Nitrite. Hypertension 51:784-790, 2008
Bailey SJ, et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans. J App Physiol Aug 6, 2009