Featured Superfood: Beets
Written by Rich Ralph R.BIE, RHN
In our quest for health, we are willing to search far and wide for the next ‘miracle’ superfood that will restore our wellness. But my search takes me no further than the backyard. Why would I want to ship some fruit from the other side of the planet which was likely harvested prematurely, thus reducing it’s nutrient content and health benefits, when I can just stroll through a local garden and pick up some of the freshest, nutrient-dense superfoods you can find?!
When we think of superfoods, most people look to the fruit of spring and summer. However, autumn produces many fantastic options for us, as well. Beets are one of my favorites. Not only can you enjoy the rich, buttery flavour of the beet root, but the greens also provide a delicious source of some phenomenal benefits. Here’s a few reasons why beets are one of my preferred superfoods:
Healthy fetal development – Women preparing for pregnancy and expecting mothers are constantly told about the necessity to consume adequate amounts of folic acid (vitamin B9, also known as folate) in order to support the healthy development of the babies nervous system and brain function. Rather than relying strictly on synthetic supplements (which the body may not even be able to assimilate properly), why not simply include foods into your meal which can offer a significant boost of the natural form? Beets, especially the greens, contain a substantial amount of folate.
Fiber – Fiber slows the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates into the blood stream allowing you to maintain blood-sugar levels better. It also helps support optimal elimination of waste. We want to keep things flowing through us efficiently so we don’t get a toxic build-up. Fiber may also play a significant role in maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. We’re living in a time where much of the fiber has been stripped away from our food during processing. It’s time we start including it again by eating food the way nature intended.
Anti-cancer properties – If you’ve ever cooked beets, you know how easily the red pigments can dye your fingers. But did you know this red colour in the beets, called betacyanin, is a powerful anti-oxidant which is shown to help fight off various cancers?
Liver-lover – Betacyanin not only fights cancer, but it is also involved in promoting healthy liver function and detoxification. Our livers are one of the most over-burdened organs in our body. So the more we can do to make its job easier, the healthier we’ll be.
Bone support – Although beets are packed with other nutrients, they are exceptionally high in magnesium. Magnesium works synergistically with calcium needed for strong bones. Without the magnesium, calcium could not work its magic.
A variety of other nutrients – Beets are comprised of many other important nutrients including Vitmain C (for a health immune system), Manganese (for bones, blood-sugar, fat & carbohydrate metabolism and much more), and tryptophan (to support better sleep, lower anxiety and improve serotonin production).
Beets can be roasted, grilled, boiled or baked. They can be a fantastic side dish, or mixed directly into the main dish. Heck, you can even use beets to colour your Easter eggs! The uses go on and on.
Including superfoods into your diet shouldn’t be difficult. I encourage you to visit your local farmers market and take a glance at the amazing variety of options right at our finger tips. Even as winter approaches here in Vancouver, the local superfoods are still around.
Share your favorite use/recipe for beets.