Healthy Heart - Healthy Liver: Wonderful Red Beets!

Beets: A perfect food for keeping regular and helping our body detoxify! 

Have you ever tried beets? Maybe they aren’t your favorite from past experience or maybe you love them prepared a certain way? Eating beets from a can, like some may have, isn’t the type of beets I’m going to share today. Eating real, whole, organic beets, from the fresh vegetable aisle are the best! I didn’t start eating beets until my late 30’s! The key to liking them was finding a way to cook them that was easy, pairing with the right foods and adding spices. These are all super important to liking any sort of vegetables. I highly recommend buying organic beets due to the fact that beets are one of the mostly highly genetically modified crops in the United States, next to soy.  

Beets are chock full of goodness for our body! They are high in fiber and contain immune boosting vitamins such as vitamin C and potassium. Extra vitamin C goes a long way for our body during the cold winter month of February! When everyone talks about eating colors from the rainbow, beets are at the top of red food list. Beets can help lower blood pressure, they are low in calories, contain anti-cancer properties and can help detoxify the one path we have to our liver. Eating foods that detoxify the liver are so important to help keep everything flowing properly… and I mean everything! That includes our blood stream and pooping. Yup, I said it! Everyone wants to keep these processes working properly. Our liver has one pathway to help our body clear out the toxins telling our body to let go of those in our urine and stool. If our liver is blocked up due to increased amounts of medications and highly processed foods, then we have a back up and our whole body feels it. Even though beets have so much healthy benefits to them, I also give a little warming about the natural sugar. Since it is a high sugar vegetable eating beets a couple times of week and in small amounts is best to keep our sugar intake in check. Although a natural vegetable sugar is always better than a white processed sugar.

When our liver is over worked we can feel sluggish, not going to the bathroom regularly or properly and most likely will feel bloated on a regular basis. I encourage everyone to try beets to see how it makes them feel. Sometimes we don’t know we feel bad because it has become the new normal for us. Once we make a few changes in our health, then we can start to feel the goodness and realize that we were feeling bad. It takes time, so give yourself some grace and keep trying.

I’m going to share some easy ways to eat beets and reap all the great benefits from this awesome vegetable!  

Boiling - This was the first way I started eating beets and I love them! Take 3-4 whole organic beets, either lose beets at the store or with the stems still attached. Cut off the stems, leaving about 2 inches on the beet. Fill a pan of water with beets in it and boil. Make sure the beets are covered with water. You may need to add additional water during the boiling process. Take about 30-40 minutes depending on the size of your beets. Use a fork to test for doneness. Once you can get a fork through the beet, drain the water and set aside until cooled. I use my pairing knife to take the skin off, then cut into 1-2 inch pieces into a bowl. I add a few tablespoons of EVOO and balsamic, then sprinkle dried thyme over the beets, mixing all together. The beets are great plain or drop them into a green leaf lettuce. Great with crumbled goat cheese and toasted pecans. You can add a little more balsamic dressing if you choose.  

If I leave my boiled beets plain, I have been known to throw into my berry smoothie in the morning too. They will color your smoothie, so I suggest adding to a blueberry/strawberry smoothie along with some greens. You may taste the earthyness of the beets, but if you use a little honey for sweetener or yogurt, the smoothie will be great and so full of goodness to start you day!

Roasting - Wash and dry the organic beet roots, then peel and chop into 1 inch strips or pieces. Place on a pan with olive oil and himalayan pink salt. I will also sprinkle some thyme or rosemary before roasting. Roast in a 425 degree over for about 30 min.  Check for doneness with a fork or you can see them roasting. I also mix similar size carrots in my roasting pan too for a beautiful side to any protein or grain.

Steaming - This is my least favorite way due to my small steamer at home. Be sure to wash the organic beets before steaming and you’ll probably need to add more water to bottom of pan during the steaming process due to long process steam. I would suggest finding smaller size beets for steaming. Cool and peel when steaming is done and you can finish them with EVOO/balsamic and spices mentioned in my boiling technique, or eat them plain.  This is a great way to keep all the nutrients in the beet instead of the water of boiling. 

Pickled -  A favorite of many! Personally I am not a fan of pickled anything, but the vinegar in it is great for the gut. I'm sharing a couple recipes I found that might inspire you to try. If you're looking for a big batch recipe, try this one, Dad's Canned Pickled Beets. I love this next pickled option because of the apple cider vinegar, which I love to aid with digestion, Pickled Beets Recipe.  You can find both of these recipes and many more on my Pinterest Good Food Board.

Bring a little RED color and LOVE to your plate during the month of February keeping your heart and liver healthy! You will still feel all the good benefits of beets no matter how you choose to prepare them!  Enjoy! 

P.S. Don’t be alarmed when your pee or poop is a little red the next day… it’s all normal and good!  :) But always check with your doctor if it's past a day or 2 after your beets. 

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