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Beets… the Root You Can’t Beat!

Natalie Butler, RD, LD

Beets (or beetroots) were one of those vegetables that I used to stay away from. I didn’t grow up eating them so I wasn’t even sure what to do with them. The few times I had tasted beets, I wasn’t a fan of their strong, unique flavor. Following my own advice, 6 months ago I started “sneaking” beets into my diet. A little here, a little there, until finally I developed a palate to enjoy beets in a variety of ways. I was so determined to like beets because they are absolutely jammed packed with benefits.

Digestive Health
Beets are high in fiber, helping you feel full and satisfied at meal times. They also work to improve bowel movements, improve cholesterol and prevent digestive diseases like colon cancer. Beets are one of the highest sources of glutamine, an amino acid that digestive cells use to repair themselves. This is especially crucial for those with pre-existing digestive disorders or symptoms.

Immune Health
Beets have been shown to increase the type of white blood cells that identify and eliminate “bad” or abnormal cells.

Heart Health
Studies show that the naturally occurring nitrates in beetroot juice lowers blood pressure, which reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, the anti-inflammatory properties of beets are helpful in reducing unwanted chronic inflammation that can lead to elevated homocysteine levels and ultimately heart disease.

Cancer Prevention
Beets are rich in a type of phytonutrients called betalains. Betalains have been shown to support antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity within the body. Some preliminary beet studies show these betalains can even slow tumor growth!

Detox
Betalains are potent supporters of the Phase 2 detox steps (the second step in the detoxification process of our cells). This is the step when toxins are neutralized and are turned in water-soluble substances that can be excreted in urine.

And More!
Beets are rich in antioxidants which help your body combat all forms of stress
The network of nutrients found in beets support eye and nervous system health
Beets are rich in folate, manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium and phosphorus. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, iron and vitamin B6.

How to Store
Do not wash beets, but do cut the greens off 1 inch above the root. Wash the greens, dry them, then store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The beetroots will stay fresh in the refrigerator (unwashed) for 2-3 weeks. When you are ready to use them, scrub the skin clean, and chop off the ends. You can serve them raw, pickled, roasted, or look for ways to incorporate beets into foods you already love like hummus, chocolate desserts and marinated meats. Thanks to the grocery stores now selling pre-cooked beets in vacuum sealed bags in the produce section, you can easily eat beets without even having to cook them!
Roasted
BEET, AVOCADO, AND ARUGULA SALAD
Author: Nancy Oakes Via Food & Wine Magazine
Prep time: 25 mins Cook time: 60 mins Total time: 1 hour 25 mins
Serves: 4

1½ pounds medium beets
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
¼ cup pine nuts
1 whole lemon
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
2 ripe, but firm, avocados, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups lightly packed baby arugula
4 ounces semi-firm aged goat cheese, shaved (1 cup)*

Preheat oven to 375˚. In a roasting pan, toss beets with olive oil and sea salt. Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven. Roast for around one hour- until beets are tender. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle beets. Peel the beets and cut into wedges.
While beets are roasting, place the pine nuts in a pie plate and bake for 6-7 minutes, until toasted. Remove and let cool.

To make the dressing, peel the lemon with a sharp knife, making sure to remove the pith. Cut the lemon into small pieces. In a bowl, whisk together remaining ¼ cup olive oil with lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add chopped lemons.

Toss together the avocado pieces and arugula with half the dressing and transfer to the serving dish. Add beets and remaining to the bowl, toss, and add beets to the top of the salad. Top with toasted pine nuts and shaved cheese.

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About the author

Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at walt@viance.com if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at viance.com. :)

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