They absolutely should be!
I fell victim to thinking of beets as either a bowl of fuschia-pink borscht with a dollop of sour cream floating on the top (a beautiful color but not an appetizing dish to me as a child) or the soggy canned burgundy balls sitting in salad bars. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not that there’s anything wrong with borscht or salad bar beets. But beets are so much more and, nutritionally, they cannot and must not be ignored!
16 REASONS THAT BEETS CAN’T BE BEAT!
1) Lowers Blood Pressure: Research has shown that beets can lower blood pressure. Beets and beet juice are one of the richest dietary sources of naturally occurring nitrites, which are compounds which help improve blood flow throughout the body including the brain, heart and muscles. These natural nitrates increase a molecule in the blood vessels called nitric oxide which helps open up the vessels and allows more oxygen flow as well as lower blood pressure.
2) Great Source of Folate: A half a cup of beets provides 17% of the recommended daily folate intake. Folic acid is necessary for cell development and for metabolism of certain biochemical reactions in the body. Ingesting the proper amounts of folic acid is especially important to pregnant women and women of childbearing age.
3) High in Powerful Antioxidant Properties: The pigment in beets is called betacyanin and it’s anti oxidative properties help reduce LDL cholesterol, protecting artery walls and reducing risk of heart disease and stroke, protecting against development of cancerous cells
4) Prevents Some Cancers: Tests have suggested that beets can prevent lung and skin cancer and that beet juice slows the development of tumors due to the high content of betanin in beets
5) Lowers Cholesterol: Beets contain carotenoids and flavenoids which can also help lower LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol by preventing from being oxidized and deposited in the arteries.
6) Treats Anemia and Fatigue: Beets’ high iron content can help treat anemia and fatigue
7) Supports Healthy Liver Function: Beets contain betaine, which stimulates the function of liver cells and protects the liver and bile ducts. When the liver is functioning properly, fats are broken down efficiently, aiding in weight loss, and preventing fatigue and nausea. Betaine can contribute to the prevention of coronary and cerebral artery diseases.
8) Aids Tissue Growth: Since beets are one of the richest sources of folic acid, which is essential for normal tissue growth, it can protect against high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and dementia
9) Increases Sex Drive: Beets have been viewed as an aphrodisiac and contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones. Also the nitrites in beets increases blood flow to the genitals, as well as the other organs in the body. Beets have been called Nature’s Viagra!
10) Stabilizes Blood Sugar: Beets are fat-free and low in calories. They are converted into sugars very slowly. Beets contain soluble fiber, or roughage, which attracts water and forms a gel, which slows down digestion. Soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full, which helps control weight. Slower stomach emptying may also affect blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes.
11) Reduces Risk of Osteoporosis: Beets contain the mineral silica which helps the body utilize calcium which is important for skeletal health
12) Helps the body respond better to exercise: By balancing oxygen use and increasing stamina by using the nitric oxide to expand the walls of blood vessels. Studies have shown nitric oxide to increase the efficiency of the mitochondria (your cellular energy powerhouses)
13) Weight Loss: A cup of cooked beets has only 60 calories and high in fiber making them a great food for weight management. contains soluble fiber which makes you feel full.
14) You Can Drink Beet Juice: According to Dr. Oz, drinking raw beet juice can impart even more benefit than cooked or pickled beets and can make a significant difference in lowering blood pressure. By juicing, you are going to get 100% of the phytotnutrients (plant chemicals) that help blood pressure decrease. One to two cups of beetroot juice a day is all that is needed but it’s best to start with a smaller amount like 1/4 cup and increase the amount over time. In studies, cyclists were able to ride up to 20% longer after drinking about 2 cups of beets juice and professional divers were able to hold their breath by 11% longer after 1 cup of beet juice.
15) You Can Eat Raw Beets: Men’s Health hails beets as powerful as red spinach! Since heating beets decreases their antioxidant power, Men’s Health suggests to wash and peel one beet and then grate it on the widest blade of a box grater. Toss with one tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Top a salad with it or eat straight.
16) You Can Eat Beet Leaves: Since beets are a powerfood such as Popeye’s strength in a can, the whole beet should be utilized. Leaves and stems are also packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Men’s Health says to cut of the stems right below the spot where the leaves start, wash and then use in a salad. Or saute the leaves with minced garlic and olive oil until tender. then season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Here’s my recipe for Easy Stacked Beets with Herbed “Cheese”….
even though it’s so easy, you WILL get oohs and aahs!
Ellen’s Easy Stacked + Layered Beets
- 3 large red beets, trimmed of leaves, roasted, peeled and chilled
- 4 oz of Tofutti cream cheese (or other vegan cream cheese) or half of a small tub
- 4 tsp minced fresh chives (or dried)
- 4 tsp minced fresh parsley (or dried)
- 2 tsp minced fresh thyme (or dried)
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dress
- 1) Cut the beets crosswise into 1/4″ slices, keeping the slices for each beet grouped together. Put in fridge.
- 2) In a small bowl, mix vegan cream cheese, with chives, parsley, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. The mixture may get a bit warm from being in room temperature so put it back in the fridge for about 5 minutes.
- 3) Layer each beet with about 1 tbs of vegan cream cheese mixture: place the first layer of beet slice, spread the vegan cream cheese mixture on it to the edge of the slice, then a slice of beet, until you’ve used each slice for that one particular beet.
- 4) Repeat layering with each beet. Each beet can be left whole, or cut in half or even quarters, depending on the size.
- 5) Place stacked and layered beets on a plate and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The beets can be placed on greens, decorated with a greens on top or even sprinkled with sesame seeds or nuts. I topped with vegan pesto.
- 6) Keep chilled until serving.
For another easy and delicious Beet recipe, go to Simply Roasted Golden Beets