Let's chat about why Beets are so good for us.
Beets are great for cardiovascular and heart health benefits. They are able to enhance blood flow, improve the health of arteries, support lower homocysteine levels and reduce LDL cholesterol.
You know how vibrant and colorful these root vegetables are? Well, the same compound that makes beets so rich in color, is also what makes them nutrient-dense.
Beets contain betalains, a type of natural plan pigment that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Here are some of the reasons why beets are a great addition to your plate:
PLENTY OF NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS
+ Beets are low in calorie, and high in nutrients. Add them to salads, soups, etc. for a good way to enhance a balanced diet.
+ Beets are an excellent source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are natural compounds that protect your cells from damage and may even lower the risk of diseases (like heart disease and cancer).
+ Beets have a number of anti-inflammatory benefits, thanks to their high content of betalains. You can maximize getting all of this nutrition by consuming beets in juice form... trust me, it's tastier thank you think!
+ Studies show that beet juice reduces inflammation across your whole body.
HIGH IN FIBER
+ Beetroot contains 3.8 grams of fiber. Adding beets into your diet is a great way to boost your fiber intake.
+ Fiber can help you control blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, lower your cholesterol and stay regular.
HIGH IN NITRATES
+ Beets contain nitrates, which help to open blood vessels; this can help with blood pressure and may also improve athletic performance and brain function.
+ Research has shown that drinking beet juice before exercising, will increase your cardiorespiratory endurance -- allowing you to exercise for longer. The nitrates found in beets are turned into nitric acid in your body, which in turn increases blood flow.
+ These nitrates are also what helps to lower blood pressure if you have hypertension, according to research. Again, beet juice has been shown in studies to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
GREAT SOURCE OF POTASSIUM
+ Beetroot and beet greens are a great source of potassium. Potassium helps create more flexible blood vessels for lower blood pressure.
Does the Color of Beets Matter?
Different plant colors mean different plant nutrients. If you've noticed at the grocery store or farmer's market, beets come in a variety of colors.
RED & PURPLE BEETS: are especially high in a type of betalain, called betacyanins.
YELLOW & GOLDEN BEETS: are packed with a different group of betalain, called betaxanthins.
BEET GREENS: are a deep, rich green; they're a terrific source of beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin for eye and vision health.
Do Beets Have a Downside?
A word of caution, beets are rich in oxalates, which can contribute to kidney stones. If you have kidney stones, it's best to enjoy beetroots and beet greens in moderation. For most people, however, oxalates aren't an issue.
Now that we know the nutritional value, check out the recipe below.
Roasted Beetroot Hummus Recipe
Try this super creamy roasted beetroot hummus recipe that features a whole roasted beet, lemon, and plenty of garlic. A perfect pairing with veggie sticks, chips, pita, or as a sandwich spread.
1 small roasted beet
1 15 oz can cooked chickpeas (mostly drained)
1 lemon, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 heaping Tbsp tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Roast the beets.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, remove the stem and most of the root from your beets, and scrub / wash them under water until clean. Wrap beets in foil, drizzle with olive or avocado oil, wrap tightly, and roast for 1 hour or until a knife inserted falls out without resistance. They should be tender. Allow to cool.
Step 2: Blend the beets.
Once the beet is cooled / peeled, cut into chunks and place in a food processor or blender. Blend until only small bits remain.
Step 3: Add remaining ingredients.
Add all remaining ingredients - except for olive oil - and blend until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil as the hummus is mixing. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (add more salt, lemon juice, olive oil, etc.). If it's too thick, add a little water.
Your Roasted Beetroot Hummus will keep in the fridge for up to a week! Let me know if you try this recipe and tag me on social media @gigiikent.
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