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  • Writer's pictureKim Smolders

Beetroot. The Underrated Health Booster.

Beets are an undeniable superfood. They tend to get a bad rep in the keto-loving circles as it is a root vegetable that can tip ones carbohydrate intake above the daily allowance rather quickly. Their loss however, as this vegetable is bursting not only with health benefits but flavour & versatility.

Their name gives away their nature - beetroots are root vegetables that taste earthy, a little sweet, & maybe a little bitter with the skin on, have long stems, thick skin, & a deep reddish-purple colour. You can also get golden, pink or white beets, however, so try these too when you have a chance.

Beets are a very cleansing vegetable rich in minerals that nourish the body. With its vibrant colour, red beets are high in nitrates, contributing to endothelial nitric oxide which supports the cardiovascular system, betalain pigments, increasing glutathione, the body's master antioxidant, which supports detoxification, fiber & a great source of various vitamins & minerals like folate, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin B6, B1 & B2, iron, glutamine, boron, zinc, copper, & selenium. All of these nutrients make it a great addition to your diet for microbiome & heart health, liver function, bile flow & digestion support as well as energy & stamina.

The benefits of beets.

Nutrient dense & calorie light.

Beets contain a little bit of a lot of the vitamins & minerals that your body needs - folate, manganese, boron, copper, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, fiber ... Talk about a well-rounded superfood!

Lower blood pressure.

Nitrates in beets support the production of nitric oxide in the endothelial lining of your blood vessels. Nitric oxide helps to relax & dilate your blood vessels, increasing perfusion of blood in tissues & reducing blood pressure.

Support detoxification.

The phytonutrients found in beets called betalains support the detoxification of harmful toxins from the body. Betalains purify the blood, skin, & liver as they help to boost glutathione levels. Glutathione is the master antioxidant in the body & helps to support the phase 2 detoxification pathway in the liver. Phase 2 detoxification helps to clear old hormones, including oestrogens, heavy metals, medications, alcohol & lots more!

Aid digestion.

Beets can stimulate bile flow which facilitates the digestion of fat & improves bowel movements. The fiber content in beets can help bowel movements & offer relief from constipation. The colour of your stools & urine can change when eating beets, so do not be alarmed if the toilet bowl is looking more red!

Prevent anemia.

The deep red colour of beets symbolises blood & it is in fact a wonderful blood & cardiovascular healthy vegetable. Beetroot juice is a great source of iron & folate that help the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen & nutrients throughout the body to different organs & tissues, including the heart & brain. Regeneration of red blood cells is especially critical in menstruating women.

Promote healthy brain function.

The nitrates help to increase blood flow also to the brain, which is essential to good cognitive function especially as we age. Beets contain significant amounts of boron, a mineral that not only helps to balance sex hormones, but also supports cognition & concentration.

Boosts energy & athletic performance.

Your workout potential can be heightened by beets. The nitrates & iron contribute to your blood & oxygen flow throughout the body, meaning you could run faster, longer, & with less perceived exertion. Nitrates also improve the efficiency of the mitochondria, our energy powerhouses & the natural sugars present help with an immediate energy boost. Note that nitrate levels peak around 2 to 3 hours after consuming beets, so keep this in mind when planning in your training.

How to incorporate more beets in your life.

Beetroot smoothie.

Blend 2 medium beets, half an apple, a table spoon of lemon juice, a small piece of ginger (depending how zesty you want it!) & some filtered water. Serve over ice for a bold, deliciously fresh & nutritious summer drink.

Raw beetroot slices.

Slice up some beetroot, whether red, white or golden, & place in a mason jar in the fridge so that you always have a healthy & tasty snack to grab, addition to a salad or a crudités platter.

Beetroot dip.

Beetroot dip is the new hummus. It is delicious with crudités or your favourite crackers. Blend 3 fresh medium sized beetroots, 1 tablespoon of tahini, 1 tablespoon of organic unsweetened yoghurt, 1 pinch of sea salt, 1 pinch of peper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil until smooth. Deliciousness!

Roasted beetroot chips.

This is super simple to make. Just thinly slice the beetroot, brush it with olive oil, salt & pepper & place in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 - 15 minutes until crunchy. A healthy snack that is just as satisfying as chips.

Beetroot greens.

If you buy beets that come with their wonderful leaves, do not throw them away! Beet greens are some of the most nutrient-rich greens, bursting with anti-oxidants & other phytonutrients that boost our health & wellbeing. They are sweet & mild in flavour, making them a great addition to your smoothie or sautéed with extra virgin olive oil, salt & garlic.


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