My friend posted on Facebook that she had picked up some beets at the local farmers market. Since beets are a favourite of mine I decided to do some research on just how healthy they are.
The gorgeous red colour of beets is a sure sign that they are anti-oxidant rich. This means that they will help protect cells against oxidative damage. However, antioxidants are only the beginning.
Beets are good for
-Protection against Birth Defects
They contain vitamin c, beta carotene, iron, fibre, lutein and many other nutrients.
The fibre in beets helps reduce “bad” cholesterol while the nutrient betaine helps protect the cardio vascular system. In addition to preventing the buildup of LDL or “bad” cholesterol, beets actually help clean away the buildup of LDL on artery walls.
Studies have shown that the increased nitrates from beets help lower blood pressure and increase athletic ability by increasing oxygen to the muscles. Some studies have shown that beets can help improve the pumping action of the heart in cases of heart failure.
Nitrates are vasodilators which widen your blood vessels and allow oxygenated blood to reach your heart. They are sometimes prescribed for heart issues but beets are a great natural source. Yes there are good nitrates and bad nitrates.
Studies have been done showing that beets are good at helping prevent lung, colon and skin cancers. It is thought that the betacyaninis pigment counteracts cancerous cell growth. It has also been shown that beet juice slows down tumour growth.
Beets contain beta-carotene which is a form of vitamin A. Vitamin A actually protects the cornea of your eyes. Beta-carotene (vitamin A) has also been found to decrease the risk of macular degeneration. The site allaboutvision.com states that eyedrops containing vitamin A can be useful in treating dry eye. From personal experience I take a single vitamin a capsule every day which has pretty much taken care of my dry eye. Dry eye syndrome is caused by a lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye according to allaboutvision.com
Sex Sex Sex
One of my favourite parts of researching herbs and fruits and vegetables is finding out just how many are used as aphrodisiacs. For most items thought to be aphrodisiacs, there is little to no medical information. Beets however, have real effects on the libido.
Beets contain boron which actually increases the production of sex hormones. This may cause a libido boost, increased fertility, increased desire and sperm mobility.
Beets have been used throughout the ages as an aphrodisiac and it appears that out ancestors were on to something.
I love beets in any form but found out yesterday that there was someone that hadn’t heard of Harvard Beets before. Since I only really discovered them myself about 10 or 15 years ago I thought I would add a link to a Harvard Beet recipe. This recipe from Epicurious is a basic recipe and easy to follow.
There is so much information and there are so many health benefits of beets that I could write a book! I think I will. I am adding beets to my second book on herbs and foods. The first one is in final edit so hopefully it will be ready soon.