Beets are TOTALLY on trend. They’re showing up everywhere, from juice to hummus to salads to smoothies! If your last memory of a beet was standing in a cafeteria line, I’m here to say they deserve a second chance. Forget about those slices-in-a-can and choose the more flavorful preparations served up at your favorite restaurant.
Did you know that beets improve athletic performance? It’s true! Consuming prior to excercise improves and enhances running performance, and also shows enhancement of muscle contraction after consumption. Beets also decrease oxidative stress. They contain a new class of antioxidants called Betalains, and regular consumption of 300ML a day of red beet has shown to decrease oxidative stress markers and may prevent chronic degenerative diseases.
Beets prevent cancer!
Betalains have also been shown to have anti-cancer effects. The antioxidant from beets causes the destruction of leukemia cells, and it’s suggested that beet juice consumption may prevent lung and skin cancers. Beets also improve detoxification! Regular consumption of betaine and polyphenols (found in beets) enhances the liver’s ability to produce glutathione and superoxide dismutase, which are both key factors in daily detoxification. Because of their powerful ability to enhance detoxification, they show a protective benefit against toxic chemicals, like carcinogens.
Now that I’ve talked about the benefits of eating beets, it’s time to talk about eating beet greens too!
If you simply throw away the green leafy tops to your beets, you’re doing yourself a disservice, as these are among the healthiest part of the plant. Besides containing important nutrients like protein, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, beet greens also supply significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
Beet greens actually have even more iron than spinach (another leafy green in the same botanical family), as well as a higher nutritional value overall than the beetroot itself. You may also be surprised to learn, that research shows beet greens may help ward off osteoporosis by boosting bone strength, fight Alzheimer’s disease, and strengthen your immune system by stimulating the production of antibodies and white blood cells.
If you’ve never tried beet greens before, don’t let them intimidate you. They can be added raw to vegetable juice, or sautéed lightly along with other greens like spinach and Swiss chard. Eat beets!