I remember eating cooked beets as a kid. They were forced upon me at one time but strangely I began to like them. Not so much that I was asking for them but enough not to fight the hand that prepared them. Once I was old enough to buy, plan and prepare my own meals, I would only have them occasionally but lately they are all I can think about. Seriously. Beets. There‘s real thought. With a little research, I am finding out that my obsession is to my benefit as beets are an underestimated power source from the earth.
Beets are indeed powerful but they should be served raw . Heating them destroys their power, namely the antioxidants. The possibilities are vast with raw beets. You can juice them, have them in smoothies (using high-powered blenders such as a Nutri Bullet), grate them into salads, pickle them, or dehydrate them for beet chips (my new favorite snack). One of the most exciting facts is that you can enjoy the entire beet including the stems and leaves which are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Of which, folate (good for red blood cell production, fetal development, brain function) and betaine (helps control vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, folic acid in homocysteine levels, supports proper liver function) are in large supply. When you are being charged at the grocery store for the weight of an item, it’s good to know you are truly getting your moneys worth with beets.
If this news isn’t enough, the benefits list goes on. They are a major anti inflammatory food source. This lends to improved mental clarity, cancer fighting, slowing the onset and pronunciation of wrinkles in the skin, reducing risk of infection, chronic pain, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, cell detoxification and cleansing and heart disease to name a few!(WHEW!!!)
Now. You may ask, besides all of these wonderful things, how do beets contribute to the life of a fitness enthusiast? Yes, there’s more that we can take from this root highly pigmented root vegetable. Beets are a natural nitrate source. This is important because the nitrates convert to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric Oxide expands the blood vessels which means more oxygen rich blood travels to the muscles. When this happens and you take in more nutrients and oxygen, you get more energy!! The more oxygen that reaches the muscles, the longer they’re able to sustain high intensity training levels. This happens all without running the risk associated with synthetic nitrates. Insert the happiness here for how much cheaper beets are than the synthetic sources. You can’t lose here. Drinking a glass of beet juice before your workout is an awesome pre workout selection.
As you see, I am in love with beets and all that they bring to our lives. Remember, raw beets is the way to go. Stop cooking them to death and let them bring you life!