“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.” – Tom Robbins
Love’em or hate’em, beets are proving to be not only one of the garden’s most versatile vegetable (pickled, poached, candied, juiced, blended, roasted, we could go on) but also one of the healthiest roots to consume too.
So when you clip the tender greens and scrub off the soil, what’s so special you ask? Probably one of the tastiest foods on the planet and home to a few key nutrients that you aren’t getting anywhere else.
Betalains and Nitric Oxide
Beets are a rich source of betaine, a phytonutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress and damage. It’s also known to help fight inflammation of the joints and modulate the immune system.
Lower Blood Pressure
Beets are a source of the naturally dietary nitrates which are then converted into Nitric Oxide in your body. This molecule acts by helping to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Beet juice, in particular, has been proven to lower systolic blood pressure up to 4 points, likely due to the concentration and quick absorption speed
Although elite athletes have been sipping beet juice for years to improve stamina and performance, there have been a number of recent promising studies linking the power of Nitric Oxide and the treatment of heart failure patients. After all, the heart is a muscle and it needs help to retain its strength and stamina.
How to Use Beets
- Juice – Beets, Carrots, Cucumber and Granny Smith Apple
- Roast – Skins on, with a bit of pink salt and grape seed oil, foil and roast at 350 for 1 hour
- Beet Carpaccio – The perfect summer dish. Using a mandolin, finely slice rainbow beets and layer on a plate. Top with pickled red onion, micro greens, extra virgin olive oil and pink salt.
Fresh Tip – Cooking time matters. Although raw or juiced is the best way to ensure 100% of the nutrition stays intact, if you are cooking your beets make sure not to exceed 15 mins for steaming and 1 hour for roasting. The Betalain content quickly lowers in high temperature and long cooking times.
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