Serve them raw or lightly steamed – an anticancer, heart protector food. The bright red color of beets says a lot about their health benefits. Beets get their red color primarily from betalain antioxidant pigments. They are also a good source of vitamin C and manganese which are beneficial for the liver. The antioxidant in beets is not beta-carotene, but two different carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These make beets important for eye health and vision. Beets also contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer. Cooking reduces the effects of beets’ antioxidants. Dr. Bernard Jensen PhD recommends adding one tablespoon of grated raw beets on top of salads as a way to detoxify the liver and blood while supplying necessary iron.
The phytonutrients in beets inhibit the activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes (including both COX-1 and COX-2). The COX enzymes are used by cells to produce messaging molecules that trigger inflammation. When inflammation is needed, pro-inflammatory messaging molecules are useful. But several types of heart disease, including atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, are characterized by chronic inflammation. Beets are helpful for this problem both for its iron content and for it ability to inhibit COX 1 and 2. Type 2 diabetes also associated with chronic inflammation is another area in which beets are thought to be helpful. However beets are sweet like carrots and should be avoided.
The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecules in beets makes this food a valuable anticancer food. Lab studies on human tumor cells have confirmed this possibility for colon, stomach, nerve, lung, breast, prostate and testicular cancers. Not all sorts of fiber are the same. Beet fiber (along with carrot fiber) are two specific types of food fiber that may provide special health benefits, particularly with respect to health of our digestive tract (including prevention of colon cancer) and our cardiovascular system. Some beet fiber benefits may be due to the pectin polysaccharides that significantly contribute to the total fiber content.
Here is more great information about the health benefits of beets: https://www.thefusionmodel.com/health-benefits-beets/
Beet leaves have a lively, bitter taste similar to chard. The main ingredient in the traditional eastern European soup, borscht, beets are eaten raw, but are more typically cooked or pickled. The greens can be prepared like spinach or Swiss chard. They are incredibly rich in nutrients, concentrated in vitamins and minerals as well as carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin. Here is a quick recipe:
3 medium beets
Include chopped beet greens
1 leek or 5 scallions
1-2 stalks of celery
1 cup cabbage
Spices to taste: 1 tsp. coriander seed, 1 Tbsp. caraway seed, 1 Tbsp. juniper berry, ½ tsp. cumin seed, 1 level tsp. Gara Masala powder (or combination of cinnamon, clove, and star anise powder), and optional fresh dill herb
Lemon juice to taste
Cut the vegetables into pieces and chop them in a blender, leaving them roughly chopped not a mushy liquid. Add the spices and enough water to nearly cover. In a covered pot, bring the mixture to a simmer for 2 minutes on the stove then turn it off to allow the vegetables to steam and the spices to blend. In about 15 minutes check the seasoning. Add kelp powder salt substitute and pepper, lemon juice or other spices as required. No not boil the Borscht. The flavor becomes stronger on the second day of refrigeration.
As a variation, you can keep the beet greens aside. Lightly steam them and add a glaze using lemon juice and star anise powder thickened with cornstarch. Another easy variation of pickled beets: Steam sliced beets and serve with a vinaigrette salad dressing adding fresh ginger and pickling spices..
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