Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's in Season? - Beets

Is there anyone out there that loves beets as much as me?! They’ve become one of my favorite vegetables and this time of year, they’re particularly valuable for cleansing the body. Beets are a member of the Chenopod family that includes chard, spinach, and quinoa.

The effective nutrients found in beets include some powerful phytonutrients called betalains that function during detoxification in a pathway that involves the superstar antioxidant glutathione.

Betalains also work in the body as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, betanin, has been shown to inhibit tumor cells growth by combating inflammation in a number of studies using cells from the colon, stomach, nerve, lung, breast, and prostate.

Beets provide carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin which is where they get their red pigment and they support eye and nerve tissue health. The nutrition data for beets can be found here. They are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, and manganese. To maintain the quality of the nutrients found in beets, it’s best to eat them raw or lightly cooked.

Here’s a quick and easy beet and jicama salad that I prepare often. It’s light and refreshing. Beets are a colorful addition to green salads too and they add natural sweetness to fresh juices. This is a red juice I like to prepare.

What’s your favorite way to eat beets?

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