Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc, LAc., Dipl.Ac.
Beets are a super - nutritious food that’s easy to grow in your back yard, and even easier to prepare. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) beets are sweet & cold in nature; they nourish blood, tonify the heart, calm the spirit (calm the nervous system), and lubricate the intestines.
Conditions: Anemia, constipation, Liver purification, Heart weakness, restlessness, and irritability.
Beets have been shown to: Protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, cardio-protective, helps prevent colon cancer and birth defects, and enhance performance.
High in folate, manganese, potassium; also contains copper, fiber, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin C (especially the beet greens); small amounts of iron and vitamin B6.
Beet greens – Are an excellent source of calcium & magnesium, and; very good source of iron; rich in carotenoids (beta carotene and lutein / zeaxanthin), which are especially good for retinal health. Also an excellent source of vitamins E, K and C, B2; great source of fiber and protein.
The main chemical constituent of beets is betaine. The physiological role of betaine is to protect cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It also participates in fat & protein metabolism, and phase II detox support in the liver.
Betaine has many benefits including: antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory action; lowers blood levels of homocysteine, and some research suggests that betaine has an anti-tumor effect on human cancer cells.
How to cook: Steam for 15 minutes or less and roast for under 1 hour in order to not destroy the betaine. Blanche the beet greens in a little water.
Warning: Beets may interact with some medications, so be sure to consult with your acupuncture physician or doctor. If you have certain kidney or gallbladder conditions you may want to avoid eating the beet greens due to their high oxalate content which can cause crystals to form in the blood. High oxalate levels may also inhibit calcium absorption.
Also, beets can cause urine and bowel movements to turn a reddish – pinkish hue; this is called betanuria and is not harmful.
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