Who needs a few more healthy recipes for their kitchen repertoire? Here’s a helpful post from regular guest blogger, Joe Ciccone, about the nutritional benefits of beets, some tips on preparation and a recipe!
Before we get into Joe’s article, I wanted to mention a few extra bits about beets I found in my research…
Beets are rich in antioxidants and the ones found in beetroot juice have been found to protect the liver against toxic damage and to decrease inflammation in patients with metastatic prostate cancer receiving chemotherapy.
Beets are also rich in sodium nitrate, which has been shown to increase stamina in individuals performing moderate and intense physical activity, making fresh beetroot juice an exercise enhancing secret of many athletes.
According to one grandmother, beets are good for clearing blemished skin, relieving menstrual cramps, treating anemia, jaundice and food poisoning, relieving constipation and warding off cancers. She even has it noted that beets can be used to treat gout and fade varicose veins.
Other Reasons Why You Can’t Beat Beets!
Beets have ZERO trans fat and ZERO saturated fat. They are also low calorie. How’s that for a food to satisfy your hunger and have the ability to satisfy a sweet tooth at the same time? You’ve got to love a food that meets a sugar craving and doesn’t harm your body!
Beets are high in carbohydrates which means they are a great instant energy source, but unlike processed foods which are also high in carbs, beets will energize your body for longer periods and as such can be regarded as body fuel.
Beets contain sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and phosphorous. They are also considered a fiber food and contain vitamins A and C as well as niacin (vitamin B3).
Beets also contain folic acid (vitamin B9) which is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells. This is especially important for pregnant women or anyone undergoing physical healing. Many people take folic acid in the form of herbal supplements, but if you eat beets, you won’t need to! It’s always better for the body to receive it’s nutrients and vitamins through food over a supplement because it is like mainlining the natural source into your bloodstream.
Studies have shown that beets guard against cancer, especially colon cancer. Medical studies have also shown that including beets in your diet helps protect you against heart disease.
Beets are available all year round! So they are not difficult to find in any produce section if you want them fresh. They can be eaten raw or you can boil, steam, roast or sautee them. Additionally, raw beets can be juiced in a Jay the Juiceman-type juicer very easily!
But be warned, beet juice is EXTREMELY strong and powerful. If you want to get naturally drunk without alcohol, take a glass of beet juice and see what happens. It is startling! If you want the benefits of beet juice but can’t handle drinking it straight-up, then mix it with some carrot or apple juice for a milder but still beneficial drink.
There is something called, Beet Therapy. Doctors have used it to get rid of tumors and to help people with blood diseases and leukemia. Some people have used beets to treat and cure boils, abscesses and even acne.Betacyanin is the pigment that gives beets their red colour. This pigment is what is responsible for helping to fight cancer. Beets have been shown to help cleanse the blood, cleanse the colon and strengthen the gall bladder and liver.
If you have never eaten fresh beets you’re in for a big surprise! If you’re not sure about the many ways you can eat them, think carrots. You can eat them raw, steam them, boil, broil and roast them. You can even juice them.
When boiling beets, slice them to no wider than about 1/4 inch so you don’t have to cook them longer than 20 minutes. Oh… and not to worry about everything turning `beet red’ because it doesn’t stain your cuttingboard or countertops!
1 Way to Prepare Beets
- Remove greens and cut off top and bottom.
- Peel the beet.
- Cut in half then slice.
- Add water in pot to cover beets, add 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, bring to boil and cook until fork tender.
Curried Beet SaladPrint This
- 1 lb fresh beets
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 cup toasted, diced walnuts
- Remove beet greens and rinse clean. Remove stalk and place beets in a pot of boiling water. While beets are cooking (45-60 minutes), chop walnuts and toast lightly in frying pan.
- Mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and curry powder in a small bowl. Taste and add red wine or balsamic vinegar to adjust the acidity as required.
- Cook beets until done but still firm. A fork pressed into the beets should encounter some resistance. Drain the beets and immediately immerse in cold water to cool them. Slide off the skins.
- On a cutting board, slice the beets in half from top to bottom, then slice each half into 1/4 inch wedges. Add to a salad bowl.
- Toss the beets with the dressing, and sprinkle the walnut pieces on top. Optional garnishes include mint, onions, and beet tops. Serve warm or cool.
With this recipe, you leave the skin on while you cook them.
About the Author
Joe Ciccone is an active 70-year old who loves to cook healthy meals. He currently resides in West Palm Beach, Florida, with his wife of 32 years. He grew up in The Bronx and has been in the kitchen since he was 6 years old learning to cook from his father, a butcher, and his Italian and Polish grandparents. He’s worked in a NYC French restaurant and a 24-hour diner, and enjoyed cooking for parties and holidays in all 3 of his marriages.
How do YOU like your beets? Share your recipes with us so we can have a smorgasbord of beet-inspired meals!