One of the least tasty vegetables turns out to be among the healthiest – beets. Fortunately, raw beets work well for juicing. Beets mixed with juiced fresh carrots, some apple and some greens thrown in then topped off with a freshly squeezed lemon provides a tasty vegetable juice.
Beets lose a lot of their nutritional value if cooked more than 15 minutes. This means the the most delicious beet entree offered, beet soup with a couple of dollops of sour cream, won’t support your health as much as raw beets.
In addition to juicing, you can thinly slice or shred them for a raw topping on salads, which is actually pretty tasty. Buying organic beets with the attached plant greens gives you an added nutritious vegetable to steam or juice. Beet greens are a lot like chard.
When separating the beets from their plant leaves, leave an inch or so of the plant attached to the beet. This prevents the beets from “bleeding.” When you’re ready to use the beets, peel the outer skin with a good peeler and slice or dice appropriately for your food or juice application.
What health value comes from this effort?
Beets are widely known to help create red blood cells. The red pigment color of beets is from a group of phyotonutrients known as battalions. Betalains are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying agents that are richer in beets than other plant foods.
The anti-inflammatory aspect of betalains helps prevent many chronic diseases and promotes cardiovascular health. Early research indicates the betalains support nerve and eye tissue better than most other anti-oxidants.
It has been observed that betalains provide a more varied and higher antioxidant value than most other vegetables containing beta-carotene. In addition to the high betalain phytonutrient content, beets are very high in vitamin C, folate (a natural source of folic acid), manganese, magnesium, and potassium. The fiber in beets is similar to carrots and supports gastrointestinal health.
When it comes to detoxing, certain enzymes in beet betalains stimulate glutathione production and connect toxins to glutathione molecules.
Beeturia, pink or red urine, occurs rarely after consuming beets. Beeturia could be an indicator of a low iron metabolism capacity at worst. A more likely occurrence is pink or red water surrounding one’s stool after consuming beets.
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