Beets may be humble root vegetables, but they deserve a starring role in your diet. Beets are among a select few vegetables that provide a notable dietary dose of nitrates. The word “nitrates” may evoke thoughts of fertilizer, but nitrates are actually dietary gold. They’re used by the body to make nitric oxide, a simple molecule with an outsized influence on the minuscule muscle cells lining your arteries. The body deploys nitric oxide (NO) to signal these muscles to relax. This allows vessels to open wider, which enables blood to flow under reduced pressure.
The practical value of beets in the diet is that they allow for natural lowering of blood pressure among people with high blood pressure. And don’t worry if you have normal blood pressure. Research shows that beets do not further reduce blood pressure among people whose pressure is already normal.
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke). Research has shown that people with hypertension who drink 8 ounces of raw beet juice per day experience significant drops in blood pressure.
The aesthetic value of beets in the diet is that these earthy/sweet vegetables are delicious to eat or drink! If you own a juicing machine, you know how easy it is to enjoy a glass of freshly extracted raw beet juice whenever you want. If you own a juicer, but haven’t yet tried beet juice, here’s suggestion for enjoying this staple of any heart-healthy diet.
This recipe stars the vibrant ruby-red earthiness of beets, but adds a hint of sweetness from apple, with a whisper of the bright astringency of celery.
Beet Juice Cocktail
• 4-6 small to medium red beets, rinsed thoroughly and quartered
• 1-2 stalks organic celery
• 1 small organic Granny Smith apple, quartered and cored
• 1 scoop of Berkeley Life Beetroot Powder
• Juice all vegetables and enjoy immediately, or refrigerate up to 8 hours.
Serves 1-2. Yields approx. 8 fl oz.
Fascinating research continues to emerge, hinting at the array of potential health benefits from beets. New animal research suggests that beetroot may even protect the bone marrow—where blood cells are made—from the damaging effects of radiation. Although animal research often fails to equate with human findings, these and other discoveries are tantalizing, if nothing else.
Here are some more ways to welcome beets into your diet.
Basic Boiled Beets
Tried and true. Other than roasting, this cooking method is probably the easiest—and most popular—method for preparing beets.
• 3-4 medium to large red beets
Rinse beets and trim any remaining leaves or roots closely. Bring beets to a boil in a large pot of water. Boil vigorously; about 40 minutes. Be sure water covers beets throughout. Test for doneness with a thin knife. Allow beets to cool, then slip off skins and discard. Trim tops and bottoms as needed. Slice thin, or into wedges. Add fresh salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh, chopped flat-leaf parsley, if desired. Serves 2-4.
Addition(s) to Basic Boiled Beets
• 1 tsp orange zest, plus 1-2 Tbsp fresh orange juice. Mix in 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1 tsp chopped, fresh thyme. Stir. Pour over hot beets, stir again, and serve.
• 1-2 tsp lemon or lime zest, plus 1-2 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice. Mix with 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add 1-2 tsp chopped, fresh rosemary and stir. Pour over hot beets and stir.
• 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, plus 1-2 tsp honey. Mix thoroughly and pour over hot beets.
• 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg (pinch) and add 2-3 Tbsp full-fat feta cheese. Toss together with chopped flat-leaf parsley, and sprinkle over beets. Add freshly grated pepper and serve.
Maintain healthy cardiovascular system with our 100% drug free Berkeley Life Beetroot Powder.