Beets are the New Kale

Step aside, kale. Discover why I believe beets are the new superpower in the plant world.

Beets borscht soup
Beets are the New Kale

Your weekly challenge is to first TASTE beets in some form, if you never have. Then find a new way each day this week to try them again. If you are able to eat beets every day this week, see how you feel at the end of it!

I love beets. Seriously, when it comes to root vegetables - this beautiful gem is my favorite, trumping carrots, parsnips, turnips...beets are superior in my book.

The Reason for my Love Affair with Beets

Beets are rich in plant-based nitrates. No, not the nitrates and nitrites we stay away from in meats, like potassium nitrate, sodium nitrate, which have been linked to various stomach and colon cancers. Instead, plant-sourced nitrates are beneficial for blood flow, circulation, and blood pressure control.

Mostly, I love beets because they are friggin' delicious! I like them in borscht soup, home-made pickled beets, beet and orange juice, beet and pear salad, the list goes on. They have an inherent sweetness, with beet sugar being a common ingredient added to sweeten foods.

I personally use beet juice as a preworkout before barre classses. When I do, I always notice better, sustained energy during class when I drink it about an hour before class begins! All thanks to the increased blood flow! More oxygen to muscles means a better workout.

Many people complain that beets "taste like dirt." And I have to agree with them if you are using canned beets that are not organic. Choose the organic canned beets, and rinse them well. Or Natalie's brand makes a delicious beet and orange juice that comes ready to drink! You can find ready-to-eat beets in the fresh salad section of most grocery stores - one of my favorite brands is Love Beets, which you can easily find at Publix and other grocery stores.

If you absolutely cannot handle the beet - try a beet powder, or crumble freeze-dried beets on your next salad. You'll still get the good benefits, without too much beety-ness.

More Science if You'd Like to Nerd Out with Me.

Beet root increases NO (nitric oxide) production within the cells that line your blood vessels. [1]

More nitric oxide (NO) means better blood flow. Some patients who have suffered from heart attack are given nitric oxide to improve blood flow in the hospital and outpatient setting and to prevent further cardiovascular events.

Beetroot juice has been show to improve endurance in athletes, because it improves the flow of oxygen-rich blood to working muscles.[2]

If you'd like to grow your own beets, see my blog post here where I had a bumper crop of beets!

Go get purple. It's a glorious thing to behold.

References are vital! Here they are:

[1] The Nitrate-Independent Blood Pressure-Lowering Effect of Beetroot Juice: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

[2] Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review.

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