Red Beets are a highly versatile vegetable. They can be boiled and served as a side dish, pickled and eaten as a salad. Beets green leafy tops although bitter are the most nutritious part of the vegetable; it can be cooked and served like spinach.
Betacyanin is the pigment that gives beets their red color; this pigment is absorbed into the blood corpuscles and can increase the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood by up to 400 per cent. This pigment is also a powerful cancer-fighting agent.
Nutrient Content of Beetroot Green Leafy Tops: 1 cup of beets greens contains 35mg of vitamin C more than one-half cup of the RDA for adults; they are also rich in beta- carotene, folic acid, chlorophyll, potassium, and iron.
Beetroot Health Benefits:
- Beetroot is high in carotenoid, an antioxidant that helps the body against heart disease. Beets can help normalize blood pressure level and can help reduce cholesterol by 30 to 40%.
- Beetroot is a traditional treatment used for leukemia. Red beet therapy, consisting of consumption of approximately two pounds of raw, mashed beets daily, has been favorably reported for cases of leukemia and tumors (includes cancer). Research also shows that beet juice can help inhibit the development of colon and stomach cancer.
- Beetroot helps to keep the elasticity of veins, when consumed regularly it can help prevent varicose veins.
- Beetroot’s iron content (though not high) is of the finest quality, this makes it a powerful cleanser and builder of blood. This is the reason why beets is very effective in treating many ailments caused by toxic and poison in the environment.
- Beetroot is recommended for pregnant women, because it contain folic acid that can help lower the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects in newborn infants.
- Beetroot juice helps stimulate the function of liver cells and protect the liver and bile ducts.
Beetroot Nutrient Content: Per 100 gm.
- Vitamin A: 20 I.U.
- Thiamine: .02 mg
- Riboflavin: .05 mg
- Niacin: .4 mg
- Vitamin C: 10 mg.
- Calcium: 27 mg.
- Iron: 1.0 mg.
- Phosphorus: 43 mg.
- Fat: .1 gm.
- Carbohydrates: 9.6 gm.
- Protein: 1.6 gm.
- Calories: 42
Important things to know when taking Beetroot Juice:
- Beetroot juice is very powerful, don’t take too much of it if your body is not yet accustomed to it, it is advised to slowly increased the amount from ½ medium size beet root to 1 whole a week.
- Beetroot juice can make you feel dizzy during cleansing, this discomfort is normal as toxins are being eliminated. It is advised to drink plenty of water to help in the elimination of toxins.
- Many people become alarmed when they notice that their urine and stools have turned pink or even red after eating beets. This is a harmless condition, it occurs when betacyanin passes through the digestive system without being broken down. The urine and stools usually return to their normal colors after a day or two of not consuming RB.
- Beetroot is better when taken raw as heat destroys some of its nutrient content. You can consume it as juice or grate it as an ingredient to your favorite salad and dishes.
How to Buy Beetroot: When buying fresh beets look for small or medium-sized “bulbs” that is firm and unwrinkled, also choose beets with round bottoms because they are sweeter than flat-bottomed one. Avoid any with soft spots. Besides those with purple shades, you can also find yellow or orange-colored varieties. If you are buying beets with their greens attached choose the one that appear fresh, have a bright green color and a leafy tops.
Storage tip: If the beets are sold with their greens attached, separate the leaves from the roots and use them up within a few days (they’re great stir-fried). The roots will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator
Preparation and Cooking tips:
- When you peel beets, wear gloves because the pigment will stain.
- If you want to retain the nutrient content of beets, cook it unpeeled and in as little water as possible (such as by roasting them in the oven), then peel them after they are cooked.
- Do not overheat beets when cooking as heat destroys all the essential nutrients.