Tap into the goodness of beetroot

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, December 15, 2016

Today I’d like to share information on a vegetable many might not consider a regular part of their diet, but should.

Beets or Beta Vulgaris are members of the Caryophyllales family, which also includes spinach. Beets are the taproot portion of the beet plant. By the way, beet leaves are also edible and are usually served steamed or boiled.

From the Middle Ages, beets have been used to treat a variety of conditions including illnesses relating to the digestive system and the blood. Betanin, derived from beets, is used commercially as a food colorant to improve the color and flavor of tomato sauce, tomato paste, ice cream, jams and jellies, and even breakfast cereals.

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Per serving, beets only provide 43 calories, so they are great for those trying to lose weight. They are rich in folate (folic acid), manganese, iron, and fiber. The folate found in beets is great for women who are pregnant or who are trying to become pregnant. Just three small raw beets have 70 percent of the daily value of this nutrient. Be sure to discuss your diet with your doctor first.

Beets contain the amino acid betaine, which has been shown to have potential benefits in fighting heart disease, increasing muscle gain, while helping reduce fat and HDL cholesterol levels. Betaine also helps alleviate depression. The amino acid tryptophan, found in beets is the same feelgood chemical found in chocolate.

Beets contain pectin which helps cleanse the liver.

The phytonutrients, and antioxidants found in beets and beet juice have been shown to help cancer patients, and help prevent lung and skin cancers. In animals, colon cancer has been slowed by the use of beet fiber.

The nitric oxide found in beets can be effective in lowering blood pressure.

Now that we know how good beets are for us, here are a few fun beet facts:

In many cultures it is believed that if a man and woman eat from the same beetroot, they will fall in love.

The sugar beet was named the state historic food of Utah.

The largest beet in the world was grown by a Dutchman, and weighed over 156 pounds.

Borscht is a soup of Ukrainian origin whose main ingredient is beets.

Beet juice can be used as hair dye (but it washes out pretty quickly).

Fredrick William III of Prussia funded the first sugar beet factory.

Beet juice has been used on city streets to remove ice, because it doesn’t damage cars like sand and salt. 

Australians put pickled beets on hamburgers.

The response to the free one-on -one consultation offer has been incredible. You can still sign up through December. If you’ve signed up, but not heard back from me, be patient, I will get back to you, and thanks for reading The Tryon Daily Bulletin. 

Diet or exercise question? Email me at dwcrocker77@gmail.com. David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 29 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC Upstate baseball team, the S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team. He served as a water safety instructor to the United States Marine Corps, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught for four semesters at USC Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.