I love beets. Yes, I know that they are quintessentially a winter vegetable, but I eat them all year. I can’t help it. I appreciate them for their ability to be turned into a soup, be pickled or thrown into a salad; they are the picture of versatility. I love their full and robust flavor that lends itself beautifully to so many recipes. But it wasn’t until recently that I began juicing them.
Initially when I was telling a friend about my newest juice combination – beet with apple and ginger – her nose turned up in disgust. She wondered why anyone would want a juice that tastes like ginger, apple and dirt. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised, as beets have a bad rap in some circles. If prepared poorly, beets take on the flavor of potting soil. But in the land of juicing, when beets are paired with complementary flavors like apple and ginger, the combination is a dynamite blend of sweet and tangy, not muddy in the slightest.
Aside from tasting their flavor merits when paired with apples and ginger, beets pack a nutritional punch. The major nutrients in beet roots are responsible for some of the most important bodily functions.
*Folic Acid (also known as folate) is crucial to cellular division in DNA synthesis, because without it, cells do not divide properly. Folic acid is essential regardless of age, but especially important in the development of the nervous system of a fetus. Deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to several birth defects including neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
*Manganese is essential especially because it functions in many enzyme systems involved in blood sugar control, energy metabolism, and thyroid hormone function. Manganese is also found in the antioxidant enzyme
superoxide dismutase (SOD). Without SOD cells are highly susceptible to damage and inflammation.
*Potassium is an electrolyte similar to sodium and chloride. Electrolytes are found in pairs, and together they function in the maintenance of water balance in the body, adrenal function, acid-basal balance, muscular and nervous system function, and most importantly, with functions of the heart. More than 95% of the potassium in the body is found within the cells.
*Betaine is the nutrient responsible for the purple-red color in beets. The major function of betaine within the body is to reduce the concentrations of homocysteine (the go between in the conversion of the amino acid methionine to the amino acid cysteine). A higher than average homocysteine level has been implicated as the cause of a variety of conditions such as atherosclerosis and osteoporosis.
Homocysteines are harmuful to the blood vessels, contributing to the development of heart disease, stroke, dementia, and peripheral vasular disease (reduced blood flow to the legs and feet). Folate has also been shown to reduce homocysteine levels. Since beets contain both folate and betaine, the two nutrients work together to reduce homocysteine levels, helping to lower the chance of stroke and preventing heart disease and osteoporosis.
In short, beets love you, so please love them back.
Beet, Apple, Ginger Juice
2 large beet roots
2 medium granny smith apple
1 tbsp ginger
Juice the beet root, granny smith apple and ginger as per your juicers manual. Shake the juice over ice and drink immediately.