Beets have always been a favorite and frequently provided food in my household.
When we were little, my mother would prepare us beet, apple, and lemon juice to strengthen our defenses and keep us healthy. Since I now prepare it for my boys as well, I have turned it into a family ritual.
Sadly, I’ve discovered that many individuals have never tried beets and are afraid of them like they’re radioactive. I admit that occasionally I can be turned off by a loud color or overpowering fragrance, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to set such things aside and give everything a chance.
It is definitely worthwhile to try beets because they are so wholesome and nutrient-dense.
Continue reading if you’re still curious about the flavor of beets because I’ll make an effort to give you a detailed description.
You will undoubtedly discover a lot about this priceless veggie as well!
Beet, or Beta vulgaris, is an ancient plant that grew naturally throughout Europe, North Africa, and Asia and has been eaten ever since prehistoric times to this day (and I predict it a bright future as well 🙂 ).
At first, people consumed the greens only, but ancient Romans discovered that sweet red beetroot is tasteful and started cultivating this nutritious plant for that reason. My hubby was delighted to read that beets were considered to be an aphrodisiac!
Napoleon is partly responsible for spreading the word about beets, as he declared it the primary source of sugar. Namely, by the 19th century, people mostly relied on sugarcane for sugar production, but when British Empire limited their access to it, they turned to naturally sweet beets to sweeten up their food. It was also used to color the wine and, most importantly, for the treatment of various illnesses and conditions.
Our kids today regretfully eat beets mostly in their worst form – like sugar.
What makes things even worse is the fact that more often than not industrial beets are genetically modified. It is a true shame that we do not include the whole beet in our regular diet as it can really offer a lot of health benefits.
10 Health Benefits of Eating Beets + A Bonus for Women
Raw beet is mostly water and has less than 1% fat. It is not high in calories either but instead provides a fair amount of folate and manganese.
On the downside, the sugar content is not as low as we would like it to be, so do not overdo it when enjoying beets, especially if you have diabetes. If you use it sparingly, its high carbohydrate levels should not be a problem. In fact, eating it a few times a week is sure to benefit you.
The things that beets can help you with are as follows:
High Blood Pressure
- The valuable nutrients present in beets can aid in lowering your high blood pressure in a matter of hours. A great way to use beets for this purpose is to make beet juice and drink a glass as soon as you feel the symptoms of high blood pressure.
- The dietary nitrates from the beets juice will transform into nitric oxide once they reach your body. Nitric oxide will dilate and relax your blood vessels and thus lower your blood pressure. You can drink one glass per day as a preventative measure.
Compromised Immune System and Lack of Energy
- Due to being packed with nutrients such as vitamin C or vitamin B-complex, beets boost immunity and help fight off colds and flu.
- It will help when you need an energy boost as well – simply drink a glass of beet juice before you start exercising! It will increase your oxygen uptake by up to 16% and improve your athletic performance. Beets will also raise your energy levels by providing your body with carbohydrates that ensure the proper functioning of your metabolic system.
- Beets contain betaine, a nutrient that helps fight inflammation and protects your cells from environmental stress.
Free Radicals and Cancer
- Phytonutrients found in beets have anti-cancer properties and can even aid in the treatment of some forms of this devastating disease such as the breast, skin, lung, pancreatic, colon, and prostate cancers.
- Beets can help detoxify your blood and liver due to betaines which stimulate liver functioning, and pectin, a fiber that will speed up the flushing out of the toxins. Beets can even reverse fatty liver.
- Rich in iron, beets speed up the regeneration of red blood cells and can help you avoid becoming anemic. Vitamin C will help absorb iron from the food you eat too.
- Betaine reduces the levels of homocysteine which causes cardiovascular problems. In this way, you can prevent not only heart attacks and strokes but atherosclerosis as well. The fiber your body will get when you eat beets reduces cholesterol and triglycerides and increase the level of good HDL cholesterol.
- The nitrates beets provide you with can better neuroplasticity of your brain and thus help prevent dementia. Eat beets to enjoy your old age!
- As I have already mentioned, my hubby has discovered that beets can boost the production of sexual hormones and act as an aphrodisiac. As it increases your fertility as well, you should eat a lot of beets when trying to get a baby! 😉
- Speaking of babies, beets should be an important part of a pregnant women’s diet as they provide a good amount of B vitamin folate which will secure that the infant’s spinal column develops properly preventing some birth defects such as neural tube defects.
THE BONUS: Finally, and as far as we women are concerned most importantly, beets promote weight loss by helping us flush out the excess water and boosting our metabolism. Furthermore, folate acid will help repair the cells and prevent premature aging thus keeping us young and beautiful (and skinny) for longer!
Extra Info: Do not throw away the green leaves you cut off the beets as they are quite healthy as well. The beet greens contain important nutrients such as phosphorus, zinc, calcium, iron (more than spinach), magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, fiber, and proteins. The greens will provide a fair amount of valuable vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 too. Greens will help you prevent osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease and boost your immunity!
What Do Beets Taste Like?
Most of the people I know either love beets or utterly despise them – it seems there is no in-between.
I have to add though that many who hate beets have never tried it and have reached their conclusion by accepting the personal impressions of other people.
I belong to the former group of beet lovers, and I believe that I am the chief culprit for transferring my positive view to my whole family. I have even converted a few of my friends to beet lovers as well!
For example, I find the taste earthy, while a few friends of my boys say that beets taste like dirt – see what the difference in perception can result in.
I would say that beets have a sweet taste to them as well, due to their high sugar content – and cooking brings out this sweetness. They are not acid but go well with such fruit or vegetables and are thus best eaten combined with some lemon juice or vinegar.
How To Eat Beets?
As I have already mentioned, I use beets to make juice and then mix it with other fruit juices according to my current mood, or my boys’ desires. I use my blender, but you can use a juicer as well.
There are numerous other ways you can eat beets such as grating them over a cabbage (or any other) salad, steaming or roasting them, cooking a beet soup, or marinating them with an addition of some lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs of your choice.
I forgot to mention that you have to remove the skin before preparing beets or eating them raw. For winter, you can pickle beets with vinegar or simply buy them pickled in your local store.
The greens can be eaten as a salad or sautéed with spinach.
Can You Eat Too Many Beets?
YES, you can.
Beets should be eaten moderately, or you can experience some problems such as:
- Beeturia: If your urine is pink, you have eaten too many beets! Beeturia will not endanger your health but implies you may have a problem with iron deficiency.
- Colored stools: Besides coloring your urine, beets can color your stool red or pink as well.
- Allergy: Many people cannot consume beets due to an allergic reaction in the form of an itchy rash.
- Kidney stones: Oxalates from the beets can contribute to the formation of kidney and bladder stones.
- Low blood pressure: If you have naturally low blood pressure or take pressure medications avoid eating beets.
- Blood sugar level increase: I have already mentioned that beets are not a good choice for people who are diabetic as eating them can cause a sudden increase in the blood sugar level.
- Digestive system problems: If you eat too many beets you can end up with indigestion or upset your stomach.
As you can see, beets are so good for you, and you really need to try them! Start by adding some beet juice to your regular fruit juice mix to adjust to the taste.
Once your palate becomes accustomed to the earthy flavor, you will have no problem grating beet into your salad or eating it as a side dish.
Beet is one of the most recommended vegetables and should be eaten a few times a week to improve your health and feel energized.
Be brave, give it a chance! And, of course, tell me how it went! 🙂
Related: How Long Do Beets Last In The Fridge?