If I were stranded on a desert island and could bring only one type of plant food, it would be beets. I love their deep, earthy taste, and they pair well with both savory and sweet dishes (see my son Joe's incredibly delicious recipe for Red Velvet Heirloom Pancakes below). They’re also super-nutritious. However, I find them a hassle to cook – they stain cutting boards, counter tops, clothes and, temporarily, hands. So even though I had wanted to eat them at least two to three times a week, I mostly didn’t bother. Happily, our Three-Beet Powder has changed all that, and now I am able to incorporate beets daily in soups, pancakes, desserts and many savory dishes.
When it comes to nutrition, beets stand above all other foods in three ways:
- They are rich in iron that is easy to assimilate. (Their deep-red color contests to their blood-building power). For many years, I have told people with anemia to include beet root in their diets, often with results that far exceed typical iron supplements.
- Beets contain a chemical called betaine (the word itself is derived from beets), which is responsible for thinning the bile. Thinning the bile means that the liver and gall bladder have an easier time digesting fats, which mitigates the development of gall stones and supports bowel elimination. We humans produce betaine in our livers, which is the body’s way of keeping the bile flowing strongly. Eating beets support this free flow of bile.
- In many recent studies, beets have been found to regulate blood pressure. The body produces nitric oxide, whose main function is to relax arterial walls, thereby lowering elevated blood pressure. Recent studies have shown that beet-root powder increases nitric oxide production because of beets’ nitrate content.