I love beets and beet greens for how grounding and nutritious they are - providing folate, dietary fiber, manganese, potassium, iron, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and more! This wonderful garden beet salad is a perfect way to utilize all parts of the beet plus it’s versatile and so incredibly satisfying.
Some insights on nourishment:
Their beautiful color: Beets primarily get their deep red color from the phytochemicals (color pigments) belatins which are associated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties helping to repair cellular damage, fight inflammation, and support our immune systems. Beets also contain beta-carotene (plant form of vitamin A, orange color pigment) supporting eye and skin health as well as immunity - to name a few functions (1),(2).
Cardiovascular health: When a person’s blood pressure stays above normal range it is called hypertension*. Keeping blood pressure within normal range can help lower risk for stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease. Beets support blood pressure management by providing a natural form of nitrates (3). These nitrates act as a vasodilator (widening arteries) which has been found to improve blood flow, circulation, and lower blood pressure (3),(4),(5). Nitrate-containing foods are also highlighted by athletes to help improve physical performance (4).
Detoxification: Red beetroots contain the enzyme glutathione s-transferase (GST) which may support phase II detoxification and antioxidant defense (6), (7).
I love that beets help to build blood and cleanse the liver at the same time! Beets help us to increase oxygen by cleansing the blood and decreasing toxic waste. Beets also stimulate bile flow which helps us break down fats and improves our digestion along with increasing enzymatic activity. Beets also have plenty of vitamin C to support the immune system!
Beet greens are unique! Beet greens offer three additional special nutrients - vitamin K (especially when lightly cooked), lutein, and zeaxanthin (2). Vitamin K** supports proper blood clotting and strong bones (8). Lutein and zeaxanthin are two other carotenoids (yellow and green color pigments) found in beet greens that are associated with eye health. Research on lutein & zeaxanthin have found they do some pretty amazing stuff including protecting against blue light damage and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (9),(10),(11).
Number of servings: Approximately 6 servings
Serving size: 1 cup
*Click the link to learn more about hypertension. Please note, beets are not a replacement for hypertension medication, but rather a wonderful addition to a heart-healthy diet pattern that supports cardiac and overall health.
**Please note, if you are on the medication warfarin/coumadin, talk to your doctor and registered dietitian about how to integrate and enjoy vitamin K-rich foods like beet greens and other nourishing dark leaf greens in your diet.
1. Candian Academy of Sports Nutrition. Beets.
2. Nutritionvalue.org - raw beets, cooked beets, beet greens.
3.Kooienga, Mckel, MS, RDN, LDN. (2018, August). 5 Foods to help reduce Hypertension. Found on www.nutritionstripped.com.
4. Lidder, Satnam and Webb, Andrew J. (2013, March). Vascular effects of dietary nitrates (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via thenitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway.
5. Vikas Kapil, Rayomand S. Khambata, Amy Robertson, Mark J. Caulfield, Amrita Ahluwalia. (2014, November.) Dietary Nitrate Provides Sustained Blood Pressure Lowering in Hypertensive Patients.
6. Kooienga, Mckel, MS, RDN, LDN. Foundational Five - Beets. Found on www.nutritionstripped.com.
7. Clifford, Tom, Howatson, Glyn, West, Daniel J., Stevenson, Emma J. (2015, April). The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot supplementation in Health and Disease.
8. National Institutes of Health - Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin K.
9. Abdel-Aal, El-Sayed M., Akhtar, Humayoun, Zaheer, Khalid, and Ali, Rashida. (2013, April). Dietary sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Carotenoids and their role in eye health.
10. Kooienga, Mckel, MS, RDN, LDN.(2018, November). What is Zeaxanthin?. Found on www.nutritionstripped.com.
11. Roberts, Joan E. and Dennison, Jessica. (2015, December). The Photobiology of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the Eye.