Food + Fitness Friday: B is for Beets!
Let’s get real— you just can’t beat the benefits of beets. This bright colored root veggie packs a powerful punch with the power to protect your heart, help your skin glow, keep your metabolism going strong and more.
Beets are highly nutritious and “cardiovascular health” friendly root vegetables. Certain unique pigment antioxidants in this root and its top greens have been found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels within the body and have anti-aging effects.
Beets are very low in calories (provide only 45 kcal/100 g), and contain zero cholesterol and a small amount of fat. Its nutrition benefits come particularly from fiber, vitamins, minerals and plant derived antioxidants.
The root is a rich source of the phytochemical compound, glycine betaine. Betaine has the property of lowering homocysteine levels within the blood. Homocysteine, one of the highly toxic metabolite, promotes platelet clot as well as atherosclerotic plaque formation, which, otherwise, can be harmful to blood vessels. High levels of homocysteine in the blood result in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and peripheral vascular diseases.
Raw beets are an excellent source of folates. It contains about 109 µg/100 g of this vitamin (Provides 27% of RDA). However, prolong cooking may significantly deplete its level in food. Folates are necessary for DNA synthesis within the cells. When given during peri-conception period folates can prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
Fresh tubers contain small amounts of vitamin-C; however, its top greens are rather excellent sources of this vitamin. 100 g of beet greens provide 30 mg or 50% of RDA. Vitamin C is one of the powerful natural antioxidants, which helps the human body scavenge harmful free radicals one of the reasons for cancer development.
Additionally, its top greens are an excellent source of carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants, and vitamin A; contain these compounds several times more than that of in the roots. Vitamin-A is required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Consumption of natural vegetables rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
The root is also a rich source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6) and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Further, the root composes of moderate levels of potassium. 100 g fresh root hold 325 mg or 7% of daily requirements. Potassium lowers heart rate and regulates metabolism in the cells by countering detrimental effects of sodium.
And to top it off, this amazing root veggie tastes amazing too! One of my favorite summer recipes is my Citrus Ginger Beet Salad. It’s the perfect compliment to a sunny day in the Mississippi sun.
Citrus Ginger Beet Salad
1 package Fermented Ginger Beets, drained, set juice aside (available in the refrigerated section of grocery store)
1 granny smith apple, diced
1 teaspoon of honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
½ teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil, orange juice, zest and cilantro. Add the apple and toss to coat. Add the beets and gently fold into the mixture to prevent the red color to bleed onto the apples too much.
Try this one at home and let me know what you think!
Happy Friday, birdies! I hope you have the best beet-filled weekend!