Monday, April 20, 2009

Heart Beets.

Beets matter. You may only see them rear their heads at Thanksgiving (or, wait, is that cranberry sauce? Nevermind.) but they still matter.

In fact, they are delicious. Not only are they beating down the doors of five star restaurants dressed in high grade balsamic vinaigrette and skirting around with some blue cheese (a good idea), but they are also helping many a heartbeat calm itself with their almighty health benefits.

If they are the new rage, I'm not surprised. Why wouldn't they be with their powers of lowering blood pressure and their cancer fighting antioxidants? I'm no nutritionist, but I can read. My guess is that if you're looking at TwinYolks you can too, so see for yourself:

The pigment that gives beets their rich, purple-crimson color-betacyanin-is also a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beets' potential effectiveness against colon cancer, in particular, has been demonstrated in several studies.

In one study, animals under the double stress of chemically induced colon cancer and high cholesterol were divided into two groups. One group received a diet high in beet fiber while the other group served as a control. The beet fiber-fed animals rose to the challenge by increasing their activity of two antioxidant enzymes in the liver, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase. The liver is the body's primary detoxification organ where toxic substances are broken down and eliminated, a process that generates a lot of free radicals. Glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase are the bodyguards for liver cells, protecting them from free radical attack, so they can continue to protect us.

In other animal studies, scientists have noted that animals fed beet fiber had an increase in their number of colonic CD8 cells, special immune cells responsible for detecting and eliminating abnormal cells. With the increased surveillance provided by these additional CD8 cells, the animals in one of the studies given beet fiber had fewer pre-cancerous changes.

(More info here.)

I don't have the winning recipe for you tonight, but do you remember that saying, "boil 'em, chop 'em, stick 'em in a stew..." No? It's OK because that's what you can do with beets: pretty much anything. I like to steam them and then toss them into a stir-fry, usually with their leafy counterparts. They are also good in salads and/or roasted in the oven with olive oil. They leave a touching crimson stain on the plate (see previous blog post), marking your life with artistry, passion and beauty. (Did you shed a tear? I knew you had a heartbeet.)

1 comment:

Khaki said...

I not only tried your "mop your chin with bread pasta" last night but I also served up fresh beets,a first for my family as I have always had an aversion for the healthy veggies since childhood. I included bread with our dinner and yes, we did sop up the fabulous sauce. Thank you Annie for educating us on the merits of beets. I still don't love them but I did eat them which is an encouraging first step for me.

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