Beets: A Colourful, Local, Super Food!
With farmer’s market season upon us, it’s a great time of year to increase the variety of fresh, local vegetables that we can include in our diets.
For many of us, beets are just coming into season! Now is the time to check out your local farmers market and purchase some gorgeous fresh beets, complete with nutritious, leafy, green tops.
I’ve been enjoying farmer’s market beets for a couple of weeks now, and thought that I just need to share some of the amazing benefits of this brightly coloured root vegetable.
One of the most notable benefits is beet’s effects on the liver. Beets are high in antioxidants and other detoxifying nutrients, which benefit the liver. One of these star nutrients is Betaine, which helps the liver cells eliminate toxins. Because we are exposed to dozens of toxins everyday, it’s really important that we help the liver out regularly by feeding it foods that it loves.
The antioxidants and phytonutrients in beets also have disease-fighting properties, including the ability to help protect against cancer. The greens of beets actually have the highest concentration of these nutrients but the roots are also a good source.
Beets are also known to be “blood cleansers” meaning that they help detox the blood of toxins, heavy metals, and waste. They are anti-inflammatory, and therefore beneficial to most people, especially those with chronic disease. Inflammation is a natural immune response, but constant underlying inflammation is one of the root causes of most disease. Including anti-inflammatory foods like beets in your diet helps combat inflammation.
Ready to reap these benefits? Here are my top tips for buying, storing, and preparing beets:
- Look for beets with the green tops still attached. The greens are an incredible source of nutrients and should not be thrown away. That being said, once the winter months hit beets store well in cool storage, so they can be purchased year round without the tops.
- The tops of beets should be fresh and leafy. However, if they are beginning to wilt, the roots should still be good.
- As soon as you get home with your beets, cut the tops off, leaving a couple of inches of stem attached to the roots. Use the greens as soon as possible, as they do not keep well. The roots will keep for a couple weeks in the fridge.
- Try chopping the greens and lightly sautéing with a bit of avocado oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Beet roots do not need to be peeled. Give them a gentle scrub and slice them for steaming or baking. After cooking, the peels slide off quite easily, though you can leave them on and eat them as is.
- Beets can also be grated and eaten raw in salads.
- Steamed and cooled beets can also be added to smoothies with berries and coconut milk for mega nutrition and a beautiful colour boost!
Be sure to stop at your farmers market and pick up some local beets while they are fresh and in season! Your liver will love you for it!
By: Ali MacBoudreau
Ali is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. Her mission is to help you discover just how vibrant and amazing you can feel, by giving you the tools you need to make lasting changes. (Hint, it involves delicious food!) To learn more about Ali and holistic nutrition please visit her website https://www.holisticali.com/about