by Sharon Quercioli
Beets belong to the same family as chard and spinach. Beet leaves have a bitter taste like chard, but are rich in chlorophyll. Although bitter, the greens have a higher nutritional value than its roots.
Both beet root and beet greens are very powerful cleansers and builders of the blood. Betacyanin is the phytochemical in beet that gives it its rich “amethyst” color that significantly reduces homocysteine levels. In addition, beets are loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. The greens have a higher content of iron compared to spinach. They are also an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, sodium and iron.
While the sweet beet root has some of the minerals in its greens to a lesser degree, it is also a remarkable source of choline, folic acid, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, fiber and carbohydrates in the form of natural digestible sugars.
Beets have long been known for their amazing health benefits for almost every part of the body. And yet, they are something that very few people take, much less their juice.
Start adding beets to your juicing diet to enjoy all its heavenly goodness:
Acidosis: Its alkalinity is essential and effective in combating acidosis.
Anemia: The high content of iron in beets regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells and supplies fresh oxygen to the body. The copper content in beets help make the iron more available to the body.
Atherosclerosis: This wonderful crimson juice is a powerful solvent for inorganic calcium deposits that cause the arteries to harden.
Blood pressure: All its healing and medicinal values effectively normalizes blood pressure, lowering high blood pressure or elevating low blood pressure.
Cancer: Betaine, an amino acid in beet root, has significant anti-cancer properties. Studies show that beets juice inhibits formation of cancer-causing compounds and is protective against colon and stomach cancer.
Constipation: The cellulose content helps to ease bowel movements. Drinking beets juice regularly will help relieve chronic constipation.
Dandruff: Mix a little vinegar to a small cup of beets juice. Massage it into the scalp with your fingertips and leave on for about an hour, then rinse. Do this daily till dandruff clears up. Warning: you will smell awful during this hour!
Detoxification: The choline from this wonderful juice detoxifies not only the liver, but the entire system of excessive alcohol abuse, provided consumption is ceased.
Gastric ulcer: Mix honey with your beets juice and drink two or three times a week on an empty stomach (more frequently if your body is familiar with beets juice). It helps speed up the healing process.
Gall bladder and kidney ailments: Coupled with carrot juice, the superb cleansing virtues are exceptional for curing ailments relating to these two organs.
Gout: Another ailment that can be greatly helped by the cleansing that beets have to offer.
Liver or bile: The cleansing virtues in beets juice is very healing for liver toxicity or bile ailments, like jaundice, hepatitis, food poisoning, diarrhea or vomiting. A squeeze of lime with beets juice heightens the efficacy in treating these ailments.
Varicose veins: In similar ways that it helps to keep the elasticity of arteries, regular consumption of beets juice also helps prevent varicose veins.
Choose beet roots that are firm and unwrinkled. With the greens attached, beets can keep for only three to four days in the fridge as the root has to supply moisture to the leaves. Without the greens attached, beet root can keep for a couple of weeks.
Beets with round bottoms are sweeter than flat-bottomed ones. Eat beets fresh to enjoy its flavor better. Do not overheat beets when cooking as heat destroys all the essential nutrients. Remove the skin before cooking.
Roasted Beets and Sauteed Beet Greens
- 1 bunch beets with greens
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the beets thoroughly (leaving the skins on) and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.
- Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.
- When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.