This vegetable belongs to the same family like spinach, quinoa, mash and chard. Its scientific name is Beta vulgaris.
Both beet leaves and beet roots are edible parts of the plant. When cooked, beet leaves have a slightly bitter taste but they are the most nutritious part of the plant.
Beet leaves tend to spoil faster, so when shopping, be keen not to pick the overstayed stock. Fresh beets are bright in color, with firm texture and produce sweet flavor when cooked. Organic beets are richer in nutrients than non-organic.
To ensure that the health benefits of beets don’t decrease, keep beets refrigerated for few days and use them while stile fresh.
Nutritional Benefits of Beets
- Raw beet is highly rich in vitamins A, B1, B6, C and minerals like calcium, iron, copper, magnesium and sodium, which are necessary for good health.
- The leaves and the roots are also very low in calories and contain small amount of fats. They are also packed with large quantities of dietary fiber, which help in maintaining good digestive system and helps minimize effects of cholesterol.
- Garden beet is an outstanding source of folate. Folate is an important property that helps in the synthesis of DNA in the cells and helps prevent neural tube defects in newborn babies.
- This vegetable contains significant amount of powerful antioxidant elements that helps neutralize free radical cell that cause chronic diseases like cancer.
Health Benefits of Beets
- Anti Cancer: – A pigment known has betacyanin – responsible for the bright purple color in beetroots – contain strong antioxidant properties that fight cancer causing cells. The presence of dietary fiber and amino acid in beetroots, make this vegetable to be very effective in battling with various types of cancer especially colon cancer.
- Stroke: – Foods rich in potassium like beets help decrease risks of stroke. Deficiency of potassium exposes the body to stroke risks.
- Fights Anemia: – Anemia is caused by lack of enough red blood cells in the blood to carry and supply oxygen. This vegetable is rich in iron, a vital mineral needed in the formation and production of red blood cells. It’s also rich in copper, which helps the body produce enough irons.
- Infant Development: – Like avocado and spinach, raw beets are highly rich in folate. The folate is important in the development of infant’s nerves system. It helps prevent neurological defects of infant’s spinal column. Its deficiency could lead to a condition called neural tube defect.
- Constipation: – Beet greens and roots are rich in roughage, which helps ease or prevent constipation. Roughage helps balance water levels in the large intestine and boost good bowel movement.
- Prevent Blindness: – Bête-carotene compound present helps prevent age related blindness.
- Stomach Ulcers: – Vitamin A activates the stomach mucus membrane to secrete thick mucus that prevents the corrosion between stomach walls and the digestive acid.
- Blood Pressure: – Foods rich in potassium like fruits and vegetables helps control and regulate blood pressure. Potassium helps balance the sodium levels in blood and decrease risks of high blood pressure. Fiber helps decrease LDL and serum cholesterol that cause high bloods risks.
- Cleansing Effects: – Iron and choline properties act like cleansing agents. They help clean and detoxify the entire system especially the liver and the bile. The cleaning of the liver and bile helps prevent food poisoning, hepatitis or vomiting. A glass of beet juice mixed with lemon is a wonderful cleansing agent.
- Healthy Heart: – Just like other foods rich in fiber, beets fiber help decrease cholesterol and triglycerides which increase risks for heart related cardiovascular diseases, by increasing the level of good HDL cholesterol.
Beet greens contain high levels of oxalic acid just like spinach. Oxalic acid interferes with absorption of the calcium and irons, which are necessary for strong bones and red blood cells formation. Osteoporosis patients or anemic patients should limit their consumption of beet leaves.
Also patients with a history of kidney stone should limit intake of beets. This is because oxalic acid is crystallized as oxalate stone.