Inflammation, a necessary part of how our body recovers from acute trauma and stress, becomes a problem when it persists becoming chronic. As an example, chronic inflammation can lead to atherosclerosis, a type of heart disease where the chronic inflammation damages blood vessels, causing them to harden which puts extra strain on the heart. Beets help to lower inflammation by inhibiting the activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes, both COX-1 and COX-2. The cells in our body use the COX enzymes to produce messengers that spread the signal of damage, triggering inflammation. Aspirin, works along this same pathway of inhibiting the COX enzymes to lower inflammation that is instigating heart disease.
Promoting detoxification through the liver will promote healthy metabolism of estrogen into weaker metabolites, foster hormone balance, process and filter allergies and inflammation, and promote general detoxification. The betains activate a glutathione enzyme in phase 2 of liver detoxification, the phase that is crucial for getting processed toxins, hormones, and inflammation out of the liver. If you are looking to protect your body from toxin exposure or just looking to naturally balance your hormones, beets are one of the crucial foods to have in your diet.
Other nutritional benefits
Beets have even more benefits than discussed here. They also provide key nutrients for strong bones, promote a healthy cardiovascular system with Vitamin C and folate, and have protective properties against cervical dysplasia and HPV infection with the high concentration of natural folate. Beets are also a powerful antioxidant because they provide Vitamin C and manganese, a rich array of phytonutrients, and free radical scavenging copper. This anti-oxidant property is specifically protective for the eyes and nerves.
Cooking with beets
The betain phytonutrient that is crucial for the health benefits provided from beets, is easily cooked out of foods. Therefore, the best way to cook your beets is to either steam for 15 minutes or less, or to roast them for less than an hour.
Refreshing Summer Beet Salad
1. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a large saucepan. Add 1 T. fresh lemon juice and 2 bunches beets (trimmed and washed). Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or less. Drain and keep the beet broth for a soup base or to add to a green smoothie for a boost of energy.
– Fresh cilantro or parsley depending on your taste (both are great liver foods)
– Diced Avocado (great fat; fats are essential for hormone production and healthy cells)
– Pomegranate Seeds (great source of anti-oxidants)
– sliced cucumber (rich source of minerals) – 1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (alkalizes the food)
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