(Health Secrets) Though many people like to eat beets, a great many others turn up their noses and say “yuck”. However, health-conscious people who shy away from beets would be wise to expand their palette and discover ways to utilize and enjoy them on a regular basis, because the oft-maligned beet is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.
Beets are rich in betaine, which stimulates liver cell function and helps keep the bile ducts healthy and flowing so the body can properly eliminate toxins. Beets protect against heart disease because another benefit of betaine is its ability to reduce homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is the toxic amino acid that increases risk of cardiovascular disease.
Betaine, also known as trimethylglycine (TMG), is a mood enhancer. It increases serotonin levels and can be used to help relieve many cases of depression.
Drinking just over two cups of beetroot juice daily may help keep your blood pressure in check, according to a study. Within three hours of drinking 500 milliliters (about 17 ounces) of beetroot juice, volunteers showed a significant decrease in blood pressure. What’s more, that drop in blood pressure was sustained for up to 24 hours after the juice was consumed.
Beets help protect against cancer, particularly colon cancer, and there is something called Beet Therapy which doctors once used to get rid of tumors and to help with blood diseases and leukemia (before masking symptoms with drugs became the fashion). The leaves of raw beets should be eaten along with the root, as they add even more useful and beneficial health benefits. The leaves have been known to counter “garlic” breath, and in Roman times Hippocrates advocated the use of beet leaves as binding for healing wounds.
Among the other healthy uses of beets are:
- Helping cleanse the colon
- Strengthening the gall bladder
- Increasing stamina
- Treating and curing boils, abscesses and acne
Beets, which are low calorie and have no saturated fat, contain folate which is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells. This is especially important for pregnant women or anyone undergoing physical healing. Beets also contain critical minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron and phosphorous.
Beets are usually bright red, though sometimes white or yellow, and make a colorful and healthy garnish. They can be added to a number of cold salads. Betacyanin is the pigment that gives red beets their color and is believed to be responsible for the ability of beets to fight cancer.
Borscht is a vegetable soup made of beets and is a popular and traditionally loved dish in Poland, Russia, Germany and other Eastern European countries. There are cold and hot Borscht soups, and though each country varies the ingredients somewhat, beets are the one main and common ingredient of this revered hearty soup.
Juiced beets are usually called either beetroot juice or beet juice. Beetroot juice has a strong flavor, thus it is best blended with other juices, such as carrot, apple, and lemon, for better taste. Since juiced beets can be combined with other healthy ingredients for both taste and health benefits, many people prefer to consume beets in juiced form.
Here is a tasty and simple juiced beets recipe:
Beet Juice with Carrots and Celery
- 1 small organic beetroot (the small ones are sweeter!)
- 2 large organic carrots
- 1 stalk of organic celery
- Wash the vegetables using water and a vegetable brush.
- Remove the carrot and beetroot tops. Peel the beetroot if the skin is tough. Otherwise, just cut off the top.
- Slice up the vegetables to fit your juicer.
- Juice and serve.
For a sweeter drink, add an apple, or use 2 apples instead of the carrots.
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Photo by Alice Henneman