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The Beauty of Beets

Oh hey there! It’s been a little longer than I anticipated, but sometimes life happens, right? My apologies.

Change of plans on blog posts too. If you read the last post, I did say I’d be doing the next one about how blood sugar dysregulation affects other areas of the body that are seemingly unrelated. Well, I started to write it and quickly realized that to put all of that in one post would be crazy. It’d be a novel, seriously. So that’ll have to be broken into many individual posts.

Anyway, are you a fan of beets? I remember growing up with the canned ones, but I don’t think I willingly ate them. (Sorry, mom.) They’re not what I would call a kid-friendly vegetable, but my mom continued to make them “because beets are good for us”. Turns out they are…go figure.

While I’m not here advocating for canned vegetables, I can definitely show some love for some good old fresh beets!

Beets

Some benefits of beets:

Beets are nutrient powerhouses. They can provide folate, manganese, potassium, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, vitamin A, and some calcium. They also provide the phytonutrients betanin and vulgaxanthin. These offer support for the immune system as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and support detox pathways. Don’t toss those greens though! Even the greens are beneficial. They are high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as contain a good amount of iron.

They aid in healthy digestion. Beets contain betaine, which is necessary for fat metabolism and healthy flowing bile. Bile is a substance produced by the liver from cholesterol and stored in the gallbladder and secreted when we consume something containing fats. The job of the bile is to help emulsify, or break down, the fats so that the fat soluble vitamins and fatty acids can be easily absorbed. If we don’t have healthy bile that can flow easily, our bodies have a hard time digesting fats and can lead to digestive upset like nausea, fatty acid deficiencies, vitamin deficiencies, or in more severe cases, problems can occur like gallbladder attacks.

Beets aid in regular detoxification. One of the many jobs of the liver is to play a role in detoxifying the body. We are exposed to many toxins every day and those need to be cleaned out somehow. They get sent to the liver, and then the liver sends them to the gallbladder where they are bound to bile and hitch a ride out of the body via the digestive tract. If that bile isn’t thin and can’t easily flow, it can cause delays in elimination which may allow the toxins to be reabsorbed.  This is why it’s imperative to make sure your digestive tract is intact prior to doing a detox. If it’s not, you run the risk of the toxins escaping through a leaky gut or reabsorbed in the large intestine during a bout of constipation.

They MAY help improve pregnancy sickness. (I won’t even call it “morning sickness.”) There are several theories about the true cause of pregnancy sickness. One of them is due to the extra hormones. So how might beets help? Just like with the toxins, those hormones get sent to the liver. There, they are neutralized and then go to the gallbladder to be excreted with the bile. During pregnancy, this is a pretty big burden especially on the liver, which is already doing about 500 other jobs. The betaine in the beets can help to support the liver as well as promote healthy flowing bile to move those hormones that have been used and need to be removed from the body. Without that healthy bile, nausea is a possible side effect. It’d be most beneficial to ensure proper liver and gallbladder function prior to pregnancy to help prevent this possible cause of nausea. And bonus: remember beets are full of folate, something you definitely want to have in store before pregnancy!

There are so many possibilities for getting beets into our lives! Beets can be juiced, fermented, dehydrated into chips, spiralized, roasted, thrown in a smoothie, or shredded. And don’t forget about those greens! They can also be juiced, tossed in a salad, blended into a smoothie, or lightly sautéed. Beet roots do have a pretty high sugar content so don’t go overboard. In fact, they are a popular source for making refined sugar (unfortunately usually GMO).

So go eat some beets and support your digestion and detoxification!

In good health,

Michelle

 

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