Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bite: The Health Benefits of Beets

On today's Bite we're talking about the health benefits of a veggie that I only just started to love - beets! I used to be afraid of them simply because their look but then one day at the Whole Foods salad bar I added a few to my salad and immediately wondered what took me so long to try them. 
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Beets are always on the recommended vegetables list, yet they are also in the "use sparingly" category because of their high carbohydrate levels. Although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week, enjoying not only their sweet, earthy flavor but also their powerhouse nutrients that may improve your health in the 4 following ways:

1. Lower Your Blood Pressure
Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points.

2. Boost Your Stamina
If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, try adding beets to your juice. Those who drink beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer.

3. Weight Loss
Beets taste sweet, but a cup of cooked beet contains only 60 calories and is full of fiber. This is a perfect food for weight management.

4. Improved Mental Health
The betalains in beets has been used in certain treatments of depression. It also contains tryptophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being, similar to chocolate.

Another great think about beets is that they are versatile and easy to cook. They can be baked, boiled, steamed, and shredded raw to be added to salads and slaws. There are many preparations, but my personal favorite is either juiced or a salad with goat cheese and some fresh baby lettuce. It reminds me of my first years in New York when beets and goat cheese popped up on every respectable restaurant menu in the city. Oh, and if you get beets with leaves still intact, eat them! They are higher in nutritional value than the roots, especially in calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C, so make sure to turn them into a nice side of greens.

Here are a few yummy recipes to try is you are stumped on how to incorporate beets into your diet:
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I'm a burger girl all the way - and if it has a fried egg on top, I can rarely resist. I'm a little skeptical about this Beet & Black Bean Burger, but it looks delicious so I'm going to try it out. I'll report back!
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I'm a sucker for aioli dipping sauces, so making these Beet Chips with Chipotle Aioli is definitely on the list.
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This Arugula, Beet & Goat Cheese Panini looks so delicious. I could honestly sprinkle goat cheese on my Cheerios.

What are your thoughts on beets? Do you like them? Hate them? How do you prepare them?


  1. I LOVE beets! Esp golden beets. Yummy. I've also read that beets are good for your liver.

    1. I've never tried golden beets - I'm going to have to try them out!!


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