“No matter how much it gets abused, the body can restore balance. The first rule is to stop interfering with nature.”
Who doesn’t love beet roots? Seriously, this is not a trick question. Well, I am sure a few hands will go up to represent the dislike for beets. On the other hand, I can’t live without beets. I remember when my mom used to make us beet salad; it was the first item I served myself to make sure I got my fair share. My mom used to cook beets, but never would cut it before cooking so that the red color and nutrients would not fade away in the boiling water. As time passed and I had to take care of my own cooking, I learned not to cook beets to preserve its nutrients to the maximum.
When I started to learn more about nutrition in order to help me become a more efficient runner and assist my body with the healing process due to the demands of training, I was very intrigued to know that beet roots is rich in betalains, a class of potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that battle free radicals and inflammation-related chronic disease. Beets are also valuable in providing the body with the everyday nutrients like B vitamins, iron, manganese (good for bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas), copper, magnesium and potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function). That’s a huge plus for me since I’m a vegetarian and I need all the iron, Bs vitamins and daily vitamins I can get from a natural source.
In addition, beet roots is known to contain rich nutrients that may help lower blood pressure, fight cancer and inflammation, boost stamina and support detoxification (supports phase 2 of the body’s detoxification helping purify the blood and liver). Beet greens is also rich in nutrients and it should not be thrown away. It helps strengthen the immune system, support brain and bone health and it can be eaten as much as one wants. Beet roots on the other hand, it is recommended with moderation because of its high content level of sugar, the most of all vegetables.
Turns out that my favorite veggie is full of nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide – a compound that relaxes and dilates blood vessels, turning them into superhighways for nutrient and oxygen-rich blood. That is, it improves circulation and possibly lower blood pressure. On top of that, because nitrates turn into nitric oxide, it helps with stamina if you drink beet juice prior to a workout. I say hello oxygen to my muscles and low HR!!! Please give me more and thank you! However, I have to say that I have not yet drunk beet juice or beet smoothie prior to my workouts because I try to not deviate from my pre-workout meals. I truly can’t afford an upset stomach, but I do drink beet smoothie afterwards.
Whether I drink beet smoothie before or post a workout, I believe that it is a win-win not matter what. Beet contains many phytonutrients that have been shown to function as anti-inflammatory and presents a unique source of betaine which helps protect cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress fighting inflammation, protecting internal organs and improving vascular risk factors.
Now that we have a healthy idea of the benefits of beet roots, here’s my beet smoothie recipe.
The same can be followed if you choose to substitute beet for kale or spinach.
- 1 small beet – cut into small pieces to better blend
- 2 or 3 cups of water or milk alternative (depending on how soupy or thick you prefer)
- ½ cup of frozen blueberries
- ½ cup of frozen pineapple
- ½ cup of frozen dark cherries
- ½ cup of chopped dates
- ½ cup fresh papaya
- ½ red bell pepper
- ½ cucumber
- ½ of a hass avocado seed (seriously, this little thing is full of phytochemicals)
- ½ thumb size of ginger root – this will help gives an extra kick to help with inflammation and balance out the taste of beet. It also helps when making spinach or kale smoothie
- Thumb size of turmeric root
- 1 table spoon of olive oil
- A pinch of black pepper – pepper and olive oil will help activate the fighting nutrients contained in the turmeric root that helps with inflammation
- Add ice cubes
- Add protein if you would like (I use plant-based protein)
- Blend well in a power blender – my favorite blender is Blendtec blender
Cheers and enjoy!
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”