Why Beets Get Your Blood Pumping
Beets are naturally high in plant nitrates (which are not the same as the nitrates added to deli meats and bacon to extend shelf life). Plant nitrates are converted to NITRITES, which form nitric oxide, the master regulator of blood flow and artery inflammation. This means that vegetables rich in nitrates:
improve blood pressure
improve blood flow
boost aerobic athletic performance
increase blood flow to the neocortex, which enhances cognitive performance
Other veggies that are packed with nitrates include arugula, spinach, celery, and most forms of lettuce.
Back to Beets
Aphrodite, The Greek goddess of love, ate beets to increase her beauty and sexual appeal—which is why they came to be known as an aphrodisiac.
The Romans evidently agreed, because they ate them before going into battle or into the bedroom. (They even depicted beets in frescoes decorating the walls of a brothel preserved in Pompeii.)
But not all of this is myth and legend; there is science.
Beets are rich in the aforementioned nitrates, which are excellent for improving blood pressure, and blood flow—including the all–important blood flow required for erectile function.
As for brain function, the news is promising.
Beets are reported to increase blood flow to the neocortex. In an Australian study, researchers found that the group that ate nitrate-enriched foods had a significant improvement in cerebral blood flow and modestly enhanced cognitive performance.
The phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color also have powerful anti-cancer properties. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water.
MOMS are right! Eat your beets!
By the way, my favorite are the golden beets. I roast them like a sweet potato, peel, and slice them to add to my salads. Here’s a simple one that’s a crowd-pleaser.
LESLIE’S BEET SALAD
1 head butter lettuce
1–2 golden beets, roasted and sliced
Handful goat cheese crumbles
Handful walnuts or pecans, toasted (optional)
In a large serving bowl, combine all ingredients. This ends up being so creamy and delicious, dressing is not really needed! However, if the salad feels a little dry, drizzle with a little organic olive oil.
You can also get lots of bang for the beet buck with fermented beets. Fermentation reduces the sugar content. When fermented, beets may be among the healthiest vegetables out there, as most of the sugar is then gobbled up by beneficial bacteria during the fermentation process while leaving other health-boosting ingredients intact. Dr. Mercola offers a fermented beet powder that I really like: https://shop.mercola.com/product/2173/organic-fermented-beet-powder-30-servings-1-bag
Raw beets help boost immune function thanks to high vitamin C, fiber, potassium and manganese, while the betalin pigments and sulfur-containing amino acids in beets support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process. Traditionally, beets have been valued for their ability to purify your blood and liver. Raw beets are also tasty in a salad—just grate them like a carrot over your greens!
Whether you’re roasting your beets, fermenting them, or eating them raw, or I strongly recommend buying organic. As with many other crops, most of the sugar beets grown in the U.S. are now genetically engineered (GE). While table beets are not currently GE, they’re often grown in close proximity to sugar beets, and cross-pollination is known to occur. So, when choosing beets to eat, opt for organic varieties whenever possible to avoid potential GE contamination.
Sources: Healthy Holistic Living
“The Better Brain Solution” Steven Masley, MD