By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com
Beets and raw beet juice are typically recommended in limited amounts due to high sugar content.
However, when fermented, beets may be among the healthiest vegetables out there, as most of the sugar is then gobbled up by beneficial bacteria during the fermentation process while leaving other health-boosting ingredients intact.
Fermented foods are also chock-full of probiotics or good bacteria. A large number of studies have demonstrated how the ideal balance and diversity of bacteria in your gut forms the foundation for physical, mental and emotional well-being, and fermented beet juice has many additional benefits beyond probiotics.
Related Article: Boost Your First Chakra With This Delicious Beet Salad
Raw Beets and Beet Kvass May Benefit What Ails You
As you can see, beets have a wide range of health benefits. If you struggle with high blood pressure or heart failure, you may want to experiment with raw beet juice or beet kvass and see how it impacts you. If you notice improvements in your blood pressure or stamina after drinking the juice, it may be a good fit.
If you have diabetes or are insulin resistant, carefully monitor how raw beet juice affects your overall health, and factor that in to how often you choose to consume it. Typically, moderation is best.
Using beet kvass would appear to be a far better option, as much of the sugar is eliminated in the fermentation process. By supplying beneficial bacteria, the drink can also have a beneficial impact on diabetes and a whole host of other health problems, especially ailments rooted in gut dysfunction, and that list is a rather long one since it’s difficult to be optimally healthy if your gut microbiome is unhealthy.
Read more great articles at mercola.com
They Help Your Blood, And Brain
Beets contain nitrates, and those nitrates help to improve nitric oxide , which aids blood vessels in dilation. When our blood vessels are nice and open, blood can flow more freely throughout the body, helping to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
Another pro to increased nitric oxide in our blood is the resulting improvements to the brain. A study published in 2010 shows how the regular consumption of beet juice helps blood flow to parts of the brain that are regularly affected by dementia.
Nutritional Value & Health Benefits
Beets are particularly rich in folate. Folate and folic acid have been found to prevent neural-tube birth defects and aid in the fight against heart disease and anemia. Beets are also high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber helps to keep your intestinal track running smoothly and soluble fiber helps to keep your blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels on track.
Nutrition Facts (1 cup cooked, sliced)
- Calories 31
- Protein 1.5 grams
- Carbohydrate 8.5 grams
- Dietary Fiber 1.5 grams
- Potassium 259 mg
- Phosphorus 32 mg
- Folate 53.2 mcg
- Vitamin A 58.5 IU
Roasted Beets with Dijon Dressing
- 3 pounds beets, uniform in size (about 2 inches)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- juice of one orange
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash, trim and dry beets. Leave 1/2 inch stem and root intact.
- Place beets in a large bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Using clean hands, toss to coat beets with seasoning.
- Place beets in a roasting pan in a single layer. Roast 45 minutes or until beets are tender.
- Remove from oven and cool enough to handle but still warm. While beets are cooling, make dressing.
- In a large serving bowl, whisk together mustard, orange juice, sugar, and vinegar. Whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and add rosemary. Set aside.
- Rub skins from beets and cut into quarters. Place warm beets in bowl and toss with dressing to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while beets absorb dressing. Serves 6.
The Goodness of Beets for Baby Food:
Beets contain a wonderful amount of calcium, potassium and even vitamin A. Both Vitamin A and Calcium play a large role in the healthy development of your baby. It’s hard to believe how high in fiber beets are; just 2 medium sized beets contain 2 grams of fiber!
(2 beets, about 2″ in diameter – boiled and drained) from the USDA Nutrient Database
|VITAMINS:Vitamin A – 35 IUVitamin C – 3.6 mgNiacin – .33 mgFolate – 80 mcgPantothenic Acid – .14 mgVitamin B6 – .06 mg
Contains some other vitamins in small amounts
|MINERALS:Potassium – 305 mgSodium – 77 mgCalcium – 16 mgPhosphorus – 38 mgMagnesium – 23 mgIron – .79 mg
Also contains small amounts of selenium, manganese, copper and zinc.
How to select and store beets for homemade baby food
According to the EWG, beets are not one of the “dirty dozen” foods that are most highly contaminated with pesticides – purchasing organic is a personal choice.
When selecting beets for homemade baby food, try to purchase fresh beets whenever possible. The medium sized beets are more tender and tasty than the large beets. Many recommend completely bypassing beets if they are over 3-4 inches in diameter. With beets, bigger is not better.
Choose unbruised or otherwise unblemished beets. Beets come in all types of colors including red, yellow and of course, that well known purple color. When possible, buy beets that still have their green leafy tops attached as as they will remain more fresh. Don’t look at the dirt on beets as a negative, seldom will you find nicely washed and shiny beets in your grocery store.
To store beets, cut off the greens and then place in an airtight container or a freezer bag and put them in the “veggie crisper” or the far back of your refrigerator. Beets will remain fresh for about 1 week as long as they are kept cold.
Foods Good to Mix With Beets
- White Potato
- Summer Squash – zucchini or yellow/crooked necked
- Brown Rice
- Tofu – beets turn tofu a wonderful purple color.
Visit our Combinations page to see more Homemade Baby Food Combination Ideas
After eating beets, your baby may have poop that is a pink to reddish color so don’t be alarmed.
Blood in poop is seen as red streaks throughout the stool but the whole stool is not colored red.
Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.
Beet Nutrition Facts
A cup of beets is 60 calories and a good source of fiber, potassium, iron, and folate. This root vegetable is naturally low in fat, cholesterol-free, and low-sodium. And don’t toss the greens! You’re basically getting two nutritious veggies for the price of one: Beet greens are packed with vitamins A, K, and C. You can prepare and eat them like you would any salad greens.
Do beets improve athletic performance? For some, possibly. A recent review of 19 studies suggest benefits for non-athletes, ranging from 14 to 25 percent improvements in endurance during activities like cycling or rowing. There were mixed results for trained athletes, with some significant but small benefits, but more studies need to be done. Want to give it a try? The research suggests most benefits are seen with drinking about two cups of beet juice two to three hours before exercise. You can find beet juice at most grocery stores now, juice bars, or you can make your own at home if you’ve got a juicer.