Beets

Sliced red beets
Round textured slices of beetroot

Beets may not be high on the list of favorite foods for many people, however they are remarkable in their benefits. As a root vegetable both the body and the greens can be used as food. In Chinese Medicine beets are used to nourish blood which can mean helping to alleviate dryness; this can be for skin, constipation, and certain types of menstrual irregularities.

Nutrition Facts (Raw Beets)

Serving Size 1 beet (approx. 2”in diameter)
Nutrient Value
Water 71.82 g
Calories 35
Protein 1.32 g
Fat .14 g
Carbohydrate 7.84 g
Fiber 2.30 g
Calcium 13 mg
Iron .66 mg
Magnesium 19 mg
Phosphorus 33 mg
Potassium 266 mg
Sodium 64 mg
Sugar 5.54 g
Zinc .29 mg
Vitamin C 4 mg
Thiamin .025 mg
Riboflavin .033 mg
Niacin .274 mg
Vitamin B-6 .055 mg
Folate 89 ug
Vitamin A, RAE 2 ug
Vitamin A, IU 27 IU
Vitamin E .03 mg
Vitamin K .2 ug
Source: USDA

 

Benefits:

As you see from the list above beets are rich source of vitamins and minerals. The antioxidant that provides beets with their deep rich color, as well as the vast amounts of phytochemicals provide anti-inflammatory effects.

Studies have shown that beets can help reduce blood pressure because their naturally occurring nitrites are converted into nitric oxide which helps to dilate and relax blood vessels. For the same reasons, it has also been shown to improve oxygen uptake in the body which can help with endurance and general oxygenation helps decrease inflammation.

The fiber content and moistening nature of the beet root helps to facilitate better digestion via the nature of fiber. It helps to take toxic material out of the intestines which improves health. According to the American Liver Foundation they are one of the foods that help reverse fatty liver by helping it flush out toxins and stimulating its function.

Other benefits vary from being cancer preventative to improving cardiovascular health. As I stated before Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at them for nourishing blood. If you think about all the things blood affects in the body it correlates to many of the benefits science has shown it to benefit. Beyond the things mentioned they can also prevent strokes, increase eye and bone health, and promote cellular repair.

They are fairly easy to make. Roasting is probably the easiest, you don’t even have to peel them first. Once roasted the skins will usually fall right off. They can be shredded raw and eaten in salads, or enjoyed in your smoothie.

Caution:

When eating any food moderation is key. There are a few things to watch out for when eating beets in excess.

Red or pink stools/urine– They can turn your stools and urine pink or red, not necessarily a big deal just remember so you don’t    freak yourself out if it happens.

Kidney stones or gout– Due to being high in oxalates eating them in excess can lead to kidney (maybe bladder) stones and gout. If you have experienced those things before be more cautious.

Blood sugar issues– Beets tend to have a high sugar content, so if you have blood sugar issues me mindful.

Pregnant-If you are pregnant check with your OB or doctor about beets, simply because they contain naturally occurring nitrites and you may be sensitive to them.

May cause gas– Beets are high in fiber, eat too many and you may want to avoid public places for a bit.

Above and beyond Brussel Sprouts if there was one food I would highly recommend to just about everybody it would be beets. Enjoy!