Beets are an important phytonutrient rich vegetable and they are loaded with a powerful mix of antioxidants unlike most other foods. Most red vegetables get their deep color from anthocyanins. Beets are unique because of their deep red hue coming from betalain antioxidant pigments. Because they are loaded with antioxidants vitamin C and manganese as well, beets are a premier source of nutrition. About one and a quarter cups from red beet juice daily has been clinically demonstrated to be enough to combat the effects of free radical damage and oxidative stress.
Other Health Benefits
Red beets provide potential anti-cancer benefits and fiber-related benefits. The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients in beets make them highly recommended for reducing the risk of many cancers. Lab studies on human tumor cells are optimistic for the possibility of helping colon, stomach, lung, breast and testicular cancers. Beet fiber has also been a nutrient of increasing interest in health research. All food fiber is sometimes put into one single category called “dietary fiber,” but there is evidence that all dietary fiber may not be the same. Beet fiber (as well as carrot fiber) are two specific types of fiber that seem to provide extra benefits, especially with the health of our digestive tract and even in the prevention of colon cancer. Red beet fiber also may provide benefits for our cardiovascular system.
The Healthiest Way to Cook Beets
Don’t cook beets for too long. Studies show beets concentration of phytonutrients, such as betalains, is diminished by heat. We recommend steaming beets for 15 minutes to maximize their nutritional value. Beets are cooked when you can easily insert a fork or the tip or knife into the beet. If you would like to enjoy red beets raw, add red beets to your morning juice routine or grate some peeled red beets over a salad.
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