These days, beets, in the form of genetically-modified sugar beets, are mostly known for their use in sugar production. But in their natural form, these colorful tubers have been used for hundreds of years (and the greens for thousands of years) for their natural health benefits. Some experts say that beets can be a great cancer preventative as well. Here are three reasons why!
The Benefits of Beets
#1. Beets are amazing blood purifiers. Beets can detoxify the blood and even promote molecular binding of toxins so they can be excreted out of the body. They also help to cleanse the liver; liver toxicity has been linked to cancer in numerous studies. Beets also contain organic nitrates. These nitrates are not bad for the body like artificial preservatives are, however. Once we consume them, they convert to nitric oxide which helps circulation of blood and can even lower blood pressure. A large-scale study at King’s College in London found that hypertension significantly increases the risk of cancer for both men and women.
#2. Beets contain cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Some of these nutrients are responsible for beets’ deep red color. Others, such as sulforaphane, are direct cancer-preventers. Sulforaphane is also found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. They are responsible for raising “Phase 2 enzymes,” which are powerful disease-preventers in the body. A 2013 animal study conducted at New York’s Howard University found that sulforaphane and other phytonutrients in beets can reduce tumor growth in pancreatic, breast and prostate cancer cell lines.
#3. Finally, beets reduce inflammation. And if you don’t know it, then you should: inflammation is at the ROOT of almost all disease, including breast cancer! What makes beets such an inflammation-reducer is a phytonutrient called betaine. Betaine helps protect cells from oxidative stress that can happen through environmental exposure. With betaine in your side, you can boost your vascular system as well as lower inflammation.
Dozens of Ways to Eat Beets
Beets may be great for me, you may think, but how do I eat them?
There are so many ways to enjoy beets! Raw beets can be shredded into salad. Sliced beets can be steamed or put into your fermented mixture along with cabbage and carrots for a tasty probiotic treat. You can buy them in this way at many natural health stores. You can make borscht, either the vegetarian or the meat version, for a hearty winter meal. And a refreshing drink that is catching hold in the U.S. is called beet kvass. This is a fermented elixir similar to kombucha that has been enjoyed for generations in Russia, where it originated.
Beets are packed with nutritional goodness no matter how you prepare them. One thing to consider, however, is that beets are fairly high in natural sugar. If you are on a cancer-healing journey, be sure to monitor your blood sugar after eating them. Then you can gauge how many beets are a good balance for you.