The Amazing Health Benefits of Beets and How to Obtain Them

The Amazing Health Benefits of Beets and How to Obtain Them

The beet is a species of vegetable which comes in multiple varieties, classified under the common group name of Beta vulgaris, or common beet. Also known in North America as the garden beet, red or golden beet, or as the table beet, this little plant has amazing properties and a huge potential for the human body’s wellbeing. It can be used either as a food or as a medicinal plant, but either way, it is so packed with antioxidants and nutrients that it easily enjoys the status of a super-food, with amazing effects if used right. (This great potential extends to a few practical purposes too, like using the root juice as a dye or a food dye, but this story will focus on the health benefits of beets.)

Historically, just as most other currently known vegetables, the beets have been cultivated and used by the Ancient Romans, consequently spreading into many areas which came under the Roman Empire’s domination over time. It was grown during the Middle Ages precisely for its medicinal purposes, for a variety of conditions: the physicians of the time noticed the health benefits of beets especially in treating digestion and blood illnesses. Then, it became very popular during the 19th century, when it was discovered that the sweet beetroot can be used to extract sugar from. After this turning point, the Western world has cultivated beets mainly for industrial purposes (for sugar), but didn’t have many beet recipes in its cuisines. In contrast, the Eastern part of Europe has preserved a lot of traditional dishes based on beets, and the plant itself has come to be associated with the cuisines of these countries (just think about the Ukrainian borsht, for example).

The nutritional value of beetroot and beet greens

Let’s start with the beetroot. This earthy part of the plant, which is often uncomfortable to cook and peel without getting everything smeared with red, is an amazing health bomb. Its exceptional nutritional value resides in its fiber content, its high levels of betaines, folic acid, manganese and potassium. The high levels of betaines give beets is characteristic red color, and the compound called betanin does not break off during digestion, and may come out looking as red as ever. This can be a source of anxiety for those not used to this effect, since they may believe they suffer from hematuria (blood in the urine) and so on, but no one should worry about this if they know they have recently consumed beets.

Beetroots can be consumed raw (and are delicious enough to make raw beet juice a real treat), but it’s customary to have them cooked or pickled. All of these options yield equally delicious results and the exceptional nutritional value and the health benefits of beets are certainly not affected by the cooking or pickling processes. Even canned beets are good for you. (To provide you with an example of a few nutrients which go into 100 g of beetroot, we will use cooked beets as the standard, since most of the time people eat it in its cooked form.) So, 100 grams of cooked beetroot can provide you with as much as 20% of your recommended daily dose of folic acid, 5% of the vitamin B6, 14% of the manganese, and significant quantities of various other minerals and vitamins. The same amount of 100 grams (a serving usually contains twice as much) will provide you with 43 calories, 2 grams of fiber and almost 2 grams of proteins.

Contrary to popular belief, the beetroot is not the only edible part of the beet plant: the greens are a great source of calcium, iron and the vitamins A and C, comparable to the mighty spinach both in appearance and taste and in the nutritional value. But unfortunately for the beet, the entire lobby has been done so far for spinach and very few people are aware of the fact that they can eat the beet greens, and even fewer actually do it.

The Health Benefits of Beets

All the wonderful nutrients enumerated above make for some wonderful health perks of this delicious plant, whether you use the root or the green parts or, better yet, both. Its most spectacular effects include providing people with better stamina, lower blood pressure, better blood flow, reduced constipation and digestion problems, reduced wounds and skin problems etc. Moreover, the consumption of beet can also benefit people struggling with liver or heart disease, as well as with the damaging effects of diabetes.

It might also be noteworthy that beets help with weight loss programs, even with their sugar content (but they’re quite low on calories so don’t worry), because a super-food such as this keeps the body energized and nourished even if the person is reducing their general food intake by dieting.

As for the health benefits of beets for men (and physically active women), eating this plant may help them not only with weight loss but also with improving their general physical status and strength. Recent scientific studies have shown that eating beets can improve the athletic performance of people who exercise by 5%, even with a Placebo group used to compare the results. Also, in ancient times, beets were used as an aphrodisiac, si it’s an effect which should also be taken into account.

Best Ways to Use Beets

To use them raw and benefit from their full range of awesomeness, make a juice out of a carrot and a small beetroot and start your day by drinking it, as often as you can. You can add a little protein powder and you’re good to go, with the best breakfast possible already in your system. A popular way to enjoy beet juice for the health drink enthusiasts has been making beet-based Kvass, a fermented Russian drink which adds to the health benefits of beets the juice already provides. A juicing machine can help you prepare beet juice in no time, whether you just want a fresh and quick version or would like to experiment with the fermenting process.

To use them cooked, don’t neglect neither the root nor the greens and try to incorporate them into salads or bakes as often as possible. Nowadays, with the beets gaining much more popularity than they used to have, there are plenty of good and easy recipes around the web which highlight the use of this wonderful vegetable.

Also, try to remember that pickled beets are a wonderful Eastern European-style delight which makes you have awesomeness in a can, basically. Whenever you want to keep enjoying the health benefits of beets but lack the time to juice or cook them, you can just get a few slices from the jar and use them as tartine toppings, sandwich fillings, or as a salad ingredient and so on.

The following two tabs change content below.
  • Share On Facebook
  • Share On Twitter
  • Pin it!
  • Share On Facebook
  • Share On Twitter
  • Pin it!

David

  • Share On Facebook
  • Share On Twitter
  • Pin it!
  • Share On Facebook
  • Share On Twitter
  • Pin it!

Latest posts by David (see all)

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This