4 reasons to love beets
Beetroot. You hate it or you love it. But even if it’s not your favourite veggie, it’s definitely worth it to eat it more often. Whether you use it in a soup or drink it as juice like the Olympics do: beets are super healthy! Packed with essential nutrients, beetroots are a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. It’s low in calories and low in fat. And that’s not all. We did some research and here are the top health benefits of beetroots.
Yes! Even if you are not the biggest fan of beets: it still makes you happy! Beets are a fantastic source of the chemical betaine anhydrous and the amino acid tryptophan, both of which are shown to improve your mood. Betaine is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body, but is also found potently in beets, spinach and wine. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that our body doesn’t produce, so it must be acquired from food. Foods that contain tryptophan can help the body produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter known as the “happiness hormone”. So if you really want to beet the blues: beetroot will improve your mood!
The pigment, that gives beetroot its rich, purple-crimson colour, does more than you think. The pigment is called betaine. This is an important nutrient made from the B-complex vitamin, choline. This nutrient has been shown to decrease risk for inflammation. Scientists have demonstrated that betaine capsules made from beet extract can help to relieve the pain of people with osteoarthritis. Eating beets can therefore help you to reduce pain and inflammation in your body.
Lower blood pressure
Eating fruits and veggies rich in nitrates may cut your risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and increasing nitric oxide formation. YAY. Studies show that beetroots or their juice may help to lower blood pressure. Beets contain nitrates which are converted into nitric oxide, which helps to relax and dilate our blood vessels, thus improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Thank you nature!
Improves athletic performance
Want to improve your exercise performance? Try beetroot! Beetroot juice has become one of the most popular supplements for athletes. Studies have found that beetroot makes the muscles more fuel-efficient, thereby enhancing stamina. One study involved men who cycled on exercise bikes. Intaking about half a liter of beet juice a day enabled them to cycle 16% longer without getting exhausted.
And once again, the nitrates deserve the credit. Scientists believe that the nitrates in beetroot also help improve blood flow, cell signaling, and hormones – all of which play a role in increasing the energy levels.
How to choose the best beets?
Let’s get a packet of fresh beets from the market! If you haven’t already. The question is – how? How to separate the best from the rest?
- Pick only beets that are small and firm and have a deep maroon colour. They must have unblemished skin and bright leaves. Go for firm roots – this means the beets are fresh as they are recently plucked. Avoid beets with scales or spots.
- If a beet is large and has a hairy taproot, keep it aside. The hairs are an indication of roughness and age. You don’t want them.
- Your beets must be maximum 5 cm in diameter. Smaller beets are best, because they are tender and sweet.
By the way… Don’t throw away the beetroots leaves! They have an exceptional nutritional value; they are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. The greens can be cooked up and enjoyed in the same way as spinach. Talking about spinach, did you know that beets belong to the same family as spinach?
GIGI absolutely LOVES beetroot – that’s why we even put it in our Gigi gelato! Try this one with beets, strawberry and blueberry.