Image of beets to show that they are heart healthy.

Beets help our hearts beat stronger

September 18, 2017 | BY BIOTRICITY

When you think of revamping your diet to include more vegetables, your mind probably imagines leafy greens like kale, a “superfood” with hype—but let me suggest another option: beets. Red beets are incredibly common in North America and they are relatively inexpensive, simple to prepare, and packed with heart healthy benefits.

Notable nutrient: Betaine

Aside from being a robust source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and essential minerals like potassium (great for nerves and muscles), beets are packed with betaine. Betaine is vital to good cardiovascular health because it lessens the body’s concentration of homocysteine, which is a substance that is harmful to blood vessels, contributing to peripheral vascular disease, stroke, and heart disease. There is also significant scientific evidence that betaine is beneficial in protecting against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, that it reduces internal organ inflammation, and that it likely protects against numerous chronic diseases.

Preparation of Beets: To boil, soup, or juice?

Beets are usually boiled and, in North America, often served as a side dish or in cold salads. In Eastern Europe adding beets to soup is a very popular cooking method. If you suffer from cardiovascular-related health problems, consider juicing.

The juice from red beets has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, which is particularly beneficial for people  with hypertension or who are at risk of developing cardiovascular complications. In fact, beet juice is so potent that consuming only 500 milliliters of the miracle red juice results in a measurable reduction in hypertension in just one hour (according to the journal Hypertension, a publication from the American Heart Association). The credit for this incredible benefit goes to the high concentration of dietary nitrates that are released once the beets have been juiced.

Eat the beet greens too!

Don’t compost your greens – put them in your meal plan, too.  The leafy green tops have a higher nutritional value than the beetroot itself.  Beet greens contain protein, essential minerals like phosphorus and zinc (great for warding off Alzheimer’s), and significant amounts of vitamin A, C, and calcium. On top of this, beet greens contain more iron than spinach. In general, beet tops help strengthen your immune system by promoting the production of antibodies and white blood cells. Like spinach and swiss chard, these leafy greens are worth saving and sautéing.

Hopefully we’ve piqued your interest and appetite enough for you to give beets a try. Our friends from LoveBeets have generously let us share a recipe with you. We hope that you learn to love beets as much as we do, for your heart and your taste buds’ sake!

Recipe: Beet Fennel Soup with Roasted Chickpeas