Beets belong to family of the chenopod like the spinach and the quinoa. These plants have so many health benefits and they also contain carotenoits and yellow betalain pigments where is found connection between the nervous system health and these phytonutrients. All of this makes the chenopod family very well for the human body.
Beets contain betalains that are a rare phytonutrients source. There are 2 forms of betalains: betanin and vulgaxanthin that provide anti-inflammatory support, detoxification and antioxidant support. The nopal cactus (Mexican prickly pear), amaranth, chard and rhubarb are other foods that include this compounds (betalains).
It is a long history about the beet. The ancestor of the beet, the wild beet is thought to be from North Africa. It was chosen to be featured in the Babylon’s Hanging Gardens. The ancient Romans used the beet as an aphrodisiac. Beets are abundant of boron which is correlation with the production of the sex hormone at women so they help them to get back their sex-drive in menopause.
Beetroot, in the middle Ages, was used as a medicine for illness of the blood or digestion. It is not confirmed if anyone have been cured of the illnesses but anyway there were really important minerals and vitamins in their diet.
Napoleon increased the popularity of the beet. He limited the entry of sugar cane after the powers of Britain. A decree was sent where he said that the main source of sugar will be beets.
Beets and their health benefits
Beet, like many other foods, is rich in minerals and vitamins. They are also rich in folic acid, beta carotene, vitamins A, B and C, iron, phosphorus, fiber, magnesium and potassium. The high levels of iron and vitamin B help women that are pregnant to form new growth cells. All of these benefits make the beet such a super food that helps in preventing colon, testicular, prostate, breast, lung, nerve and stomach cancers.
The beet fiber together with pectin polysaccharides brings benefits to the cardiovascular system and digestive tract that other fiber doesn’t. That is why health research has focused on this amazing fiber to see why it is affecting the body in so many beneficial ways.
Sometimes, people who love beet might notice 1 small issue. The urine gets a specific color (pinkish-reddish) due to pigments (betalain). That condition is known as Beeturia. This happens when iron is not well metabolized in the body. Consult with physician if your urine is turning colors after you eat beets.
Juice of Beet
A relationship between the juice of beet and athleticism was found. Beet juice is rich in nitrates that are used by the body to make nitric oxide and nitrite. Both chemicals are responsible for expanding the vessels of the blood and in that way they protect the vessels from injury. They increase the endurance and the power of the muscle.
One study revealed that the time of the endurance of the exercise was increased by 17% and beet juice also caused 19% drop of the need of oxygen. The 2011 study of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal revealed that cyclists who drink beet juice could cut eleven seconds off of 4 kilometer times and forty seconds off of 16.1 km times. More studies should be done but the beet juice is a promising thing for athletes.
Beet has a bit confusing look. Its leaves are green and they are connected to an oblong-round part, the beet. Usually, beet has purple-reddish color. However, there is a big variety of the color. They can also be white to yellow and sometimes the roots are rainbow colored. The reddish color of the beet comes from the very rare pigment betalain and the color of the red cabbage gets is due to anthocyanin.
Beets are very sweet because it is highly rich in sugar. When the beetroot is raw it has crunchy texture, but when it is cooked, it is buttery and softer. Its leaves are also edible but bitter and they are very similar to chard.
How to prepare your beets
The season of the beets is from June to October. If you want to choose the best beet, try to look at the medium or small sized with smooth skin, deep color and firm roots. If they are younger and smaller, the after cooking peeling is not necessary.
It is suggested in some studies that beets should be prepared roasted for not more than one hour or steamed for not more than fifteen minutes due to the chemical sensitivity of betalain. They are very sensitive and they can bleed from the smallest puncture or bruise. Don’t treat them like the other tough foods, because even they look really tough they are actually very delicate.
Do not wash the beets before you store them. You should keep them in a plastic bag (without air) because they are very sensitive to oxidation. You can keep the beets at about 3 weeks in the refrigerator, but you can also freeze them after you cook them because if they are not cooked, after the thawing they will become less desirable and soft.
In the past, the beet leaves were eaten instead of the root. But these days, when people know that they are both edible, there are amounts of different recipes. The best way to cook the leaves from the beet is to prepare them in a way as you prepare Swiss chard or spinach. The beet is used pickled by Eastern Europe people. They also use it raw or cooked and in borscht as main ingredient. It is also used as a dietary aid for the horses which are training for competition and in making wine.
Try to add the beet into your salads and soups by grating it. It can also be boiled, roasted, grilled, pickled or marinated with herbs, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
Find some fun ways to get your family eating the beets in case they don’t really like them. One way to become one of the favorite food in your home is to inform your family that beets have low calories although they give energy due to the rich content of sugar.
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