The Health Benefits of Adding Beets To Your Diet
We have all heard the term "red as a beet"....well, that is one identifying distinction of this great vegetable. The deep, beautiful, ruby red color really stands out in salads and soups or when served for a side dish with any meal.
Which Vitamins And Minerals Are Found In This Vegetable?
What Are The Benefits Of These Vitamins and Minerals?
Scientists, in studies in patients who have stomach cancer, found that beet juice as well as juice from other fruits and vegetables helped fight the formation of nitrosamines. These are cancer-causing compounds created in the stomach from digesting nitrates commonly used in meat processing and preservation.
Being rich in Vitamin B and folate, this vegetable facilitates normal tissue growth. This is very important during pregnancy because without enough folate the baby's spinal column will not develop properly, creating a condition called neural tube defect. A cup of boiled sliced beets will provide you with 30% of the daily recommended requirements.
Studies by the American Heart Association showed that drinking 17 ounces of beet juice on a daily basis helped lower blood pressure within one hour and was more pronounced after three to four hours and was still very effective after twenty four hours.
How to Buy and Store This Vegetable
When buying beets, the size you buy will depend on how you plan to prepare them. For cooking or baking buy the smaller ones, as they will be more tender. If you plan on grating them buy the larger ones, as they will be easier to handle.
They should be consistent in size, firm with no soft spots or bruises, and shouldn't be shriveled up. If you are planning on eating the greens, they should be a dark green in color and with crisp leaves.
To store them, cut the green tops off while leaving an inch or two of the stems; this will prevent them from bleeding out the juice and drying up quicker. To keep them fresh for several weeks, store them in the crisper of the refrigerator.
Tips For Preparing:
Beets can be eaten uncooked, simply rinse well and cut them into wedges, slices or grate them for adding as a garnish to salads.
When cooking, leave the skin on. Also leave about an inch of the stems attached to help prevent loosing the juice from bleeding. Never overcook them..they should be firm. Overcooking will diminish the effectiveness of the anticancer nutrients.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
This vegetable is great raw, cooked, or pickled, and adds color to soups and salads.
When making your own vegetable juice, mix a couple of these vegetables into the blend for added nutrients and color.
Just a quick side note: The red coloring in them will stain skin and clothing, so keep that in mind when working with them. If your hands get stained from peeling them, you can use fresh lemon juice to remove the stains. Adding lemon juice to them as they cook will turn them a brighter red, while adding salt dulls the color.
They are low in calories!! A half-cup is only 37 calories, so eat as many as you want! However, be aware that if you do eat a lot of them your urine will be pinkish in color.
If you are trying to improve your health you will definitely find that adding more of this nutritious vegetable to your menu has many benefits.
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