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Beautiful Beets: Benefits and Recipes

I'm really feeling the abundance of root veggies in the markets this time of year. I especially have been drawn to beets. Perhaps it's a subtle signal from my body that my liver needs some extra care as I have been under some stress the past couple of months. It is no secret that beets are your liver's best friend. They improve your liver by thinning bile and allowing it to flow through the liver and into the small intestine more freely. Bile breaks down fat and stimulates peristalsis (digestive tract muscle contractions that move food along) it also reduces the risk of forming gallstones. Beets also protect against cancer, Alzheimer's and osteoporosis and neural tube defects in babies. They are filled with a respectable amount of goodness.

Nutrition Value of Beets: Per 100 gm

Vitamin A : 20 IU
Thiamine : .02 mg
Riboflavin : .05 mg
Niacin : .4 mg
Vitamin C : 10 mg
Calcium : 27 mg
Iron : 1.0 mg
Phosphorus : 43 mg
Fat : .1 gm
Carbohydrates : 9.6 gm
Protein : 1.6 gm
Calories : 42

My all time favourite way to eat beets is actually by drinking them because of the instant energy boost I get. A study led by the University of Exeter, published in 2009 in the "Journal of Applied Physiology," reported that beet juice may have the most benefits when it comes to improving athletic stamina. Not only has beet juice been found to help boost athletic performance, but the vegetable has also been linked to helping those with lung and heart problems and aiding in general overall health. 

The Exeter-led study pointed to the benefits of nitrates, concluding that they boost a cyclists's endurance by 16 percent. Nitrates are helpful to athletes because they quickly bring oxygen to muscles, essentially making the hard efforts easier. Consider a glass of beet juice as part of your pre-workout meal.

More Benefits of Beet Juice 
Helps stimulate the function of liver cells and protect the liver and bile ducts.

Effective in the treatment of acidosis as it is an alkaline vegetable.

Can help relieve constipation

Beet juice and carrot juice when combined is excellent in the healing gout, kidney and gall bladder problem.

Recipe: Liver Detox Juice

This photograph belongs to Melissa Macchione.
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2 Beets (with tops-optional), scrubbed and cut into pieces
2 Carrots
2 Apples
3 stalks celery
1 wedge of lemon
1-2 inches of fresh ginger root
Milk Thistle (optional)


Everybody is different. Some people find Beet juice (especially when the tops are juiced) to be very powerful with sometimes uncomfortable detoxifying effects (dizziness, mood swings, fatigue). This is common as toxins are being eliminated from your body. Slowly increase the amount of beets from ½-1 medium size beet to 1-2 whole when making your juice. Be sure to drink plenty of water as well to help the toxins leave your body.

When eating red beets you may notice a red color to your urine or stools. Don’t be alarmed it’s just the red colour, betacyanin, from the beets.

Save the green leafy tops as they can be cooked like swiss chard, rapini (see picture below), spinach or similar dark leafy greens. Beet tops are rich in beta-carotene, folic acid, chlorophyll, potassium, vitamin C, and iron.

Recipe: Sautéed Greens

This photograph belongs to Melissa Macchione.
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1 bunch dark leafy greens washed (choose 1 or more of the following: rapini, beet tops, swiss chard, dandelion, spinach, black kale)

2-3 large garlic cloves sliced or whole

1 tsp dried red chili pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1) Steam greens until tender in vegetable steamer
2) Heat oil in medium sauté pan
3) Add garlic and sauté until tender
4) Add greens and toss
5) Add chili, salt and freshly ground pepper; toss.
6) Sauté until greens are nicely coated with the oil and spices.
7) Serve with fresh artisan bread. Yum-oh!

The information presented here is not intended to replace professional medical care when needed. Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for disease diagnosis, therapy choice, medicine selection and dosage.