Beets and their leafy tops are powerhouses of nutrients that may improve your health in a variety of ways.
1. Lower blood pressure
Drinking beetroot juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. This is probably due to the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps to relax and dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
2. Fight inflammation
Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protect cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and help prevent numerous chronic diseases
3. Anti-cancer properties
The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson colour may help to ward off cancer. Beetroot extract is being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.
4. Rich in valuable nutrients and fibre
Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fibre and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas).
5. The red colour helps with detox
The red colour of beetroot comes from betalain pigments. The betalain pigments support the body’s Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify the blood and liver.
6. Beet greens pack an ever bigger punch
Try to buy beets with their green leafy tops as they are a super healthy part of the plant. Besides containing important nutrients like protein, phosphorus, zinc, fibre, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese, beet greens also supply significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Beet greens have more iron than spinach as well as a higher nutritional value overall than the beetroot itself.
Beetroot greens may:
- Help ward off osteoporosis by boosting bone strength
- Fight Alzheimer’s disease
- Strengthen your immune system by stimulating the production of antibodies and white blood cells
Beet greens can be added raw to vegetable juice or sautéed lightly with other greens like spinach and Swiss chard. Enjoy them on their own as a salad or with other leafy vegetables, or sauté them in a bit of olive oil, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and salt for a delicious side dish.
Add some cooked, mashed beetroot to your hummus.
Add fresh coriander, flat parsley, red onion, black olives, sesame seeds and goats or feta cheese to your salads for even more deliciousness.