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It’s All About The Beets
-Recovering from a hangover (hopefully not, but just in case)? -Beetroot juice-speeds up recovery.
-The Betacyanin turns the alcohol into a less harmful substance in the system, that can be eliminated faster than normal and enables you to recover from a hangover quicker!
-In early Roman times, it was natures Viagra because of its high amounts of Boron which is directly related to human sex hormones. Evidence of this can be seen on the walls of the Lupanare (the official brothel in Pompeii). The beetroot still adorns the walls even after the destruction from Vesuvius.
-In many cultures it is believed that when a man and woman eat from the same beetroot they will fall in love! (hint hint…Valentine’s Day is coming!)
-In 1975, the Russian cosmonauts from the USSR Soyuz 19 welcomed the Apollo 18 crew with a banquet of prepared Borscht!
-In Australia, the Oz Burger, a burger is not a burger until it has a slice or two of beetroot on it! Even McDonalds and Burger King have added this to their menu.
Beets are believed to have originated along the Mediterranean coast. The Greeks and the Romans cultivated beets for the leaves/greens. The beetroot was initially used as medicinal property in treating fevers, wounds, constipation and various skin problems. The ancestor of today’s beetroot, the sea beet, was known for its long, tubular and whitish yellow color. Today the sea beet still grows wild in and along the Mediterranean coast, has heart shaped leaves, a deep glossy green color and bunches together as the beets of today.
The greens of the beets are much like Swiss chard or spinach. They are prepared and eaten in the same manner and are extremely nutritious.
The beetroot evolved, but was not considered edible. It was not consumed until the 16th century. By the 19th century the value of beets grew exponentially due to the concentrated source of sugar it produced.
Beets were introduced to the United Sates from Europe during the 19thcentury. The U.S. is one of the leading commercial producers of the beet producing industry. The other major producers are: Russia, France, Poland, and Germany.
Beets have changed in color and shape since being first consumed. From being long tubular, thin to nice round roots we know today, the popularity of beets continues to increase.
The varieties of beets range from size and colors. From deep reddish purple, golden yellow to a rainbow variety. They make beautiful additions to any meal.
The deep colors in beets comes from the pigments known as Betalains. There are two types of Betalains in beets:
Betacyanins are the pigments in the crimson colored beets.
Betaxanthins are the pigments in the yellow colored beets.
The phytonutrients in beets also known as Betalains, function both as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. One of the many anti-oxidant properties beets have is alpha-lipoic acid. This has been shown to lower blood sugar /glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
Other scientifically proven positive factors of Betalains are:
The ability to reduce the risk of blood clots – betalains protect the thin lining of your blood vessels; this helps reduce the inflammation that makes your blood sticky and leads to clots and reduces bad cholesterol by reducing oxidized LDL cholesterol.
Betalains provide liver protection from the detoxification effects that occur.
They also protect cells from toxins — betalains protect many types of cells, especially brain cells, from toxins known to trigger tumors.
According to Daniel Kim- Shapiro of Wake Forest University drinking beet juice as part of a high nitrate diet can improve the blood flow and oxygenation to certain parts of the brain. As we age, blood flow to certain areas of the brain decreases and may lead to decreased cognition and possible dementia.
As noted by Mr. Kim Shapiro nitrates have a significant impact on our health. Due to the positive effects of the oxygenation and increased blood flow, it is hypothesized and has even been scientifically tested, that drinking approximately 16 oz. of beet juice, significantly lowers blood pressure. Beet juice is higher in nitrates than cooked beets due to the denaturing of nitrates in heat. Vegetables that have high nitrate levels are low cost and effective way to naturally contribute to a healthier cardiovascular system. Other high nitrate vegetables are: spinach, celery, and radishes.
An additional nutrient in Beets is Choline. Choline is considered an essential nutrient and vitamin by the Linus Pauling Institute. This nutrient is somewhat overlooked, but the importance of good levels of Choline are good for optimal health. Choline assists in muscle movement, fat metabolism, and helps to maintain structure of our cellular membranes and assists with sleep.
As we enjoy the goodness of the beet we must note :
It is estimated that 10-15% of the US population experience beeturia or red stools after consumption. This is not harmful, but can be alarming if you are new to the process of consuming beets. It is due to not being able to break down the pigment in the beets.
Beet greens are high in Oxalates, so if you have a tendency towards kidney stones or gall bladder issues limit your consumption of oxalates. When oxalates become too concentrated they can crystallize and may cause these ill effects.
Blanching is an excellent way to remove oxalates from vegetables.