Beets Flush Toxins
For some kids, eating a beet could be considered a form of torture. Maybe if they knew just how good beets are for you—or that astronauts on Apollo 18 served them to their Russian comrades in a traditional borscht meal—they would be more willing to let beets into their lives.

Beets, also referred to as beetroot or table beet, are part of the chenopod family. Sound familiar? That’s because previous superfood articles—like those we wrote on quinoa and spinach—featured vegetables from the exact same family. It must be something in the genes that gives these plants health benefits not found in other food families. The chenopod family contains red and yellow betalain pigments and carotenoids, and there is a specific connection between these phytonutrients and nervous system health. All these things help make this family great for the human body.

Betalains are a rare source of phytonutrients found within beets. Betanin and vulgaxanthin are two forms of betalains—both provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. A few other foods containing betalains are rhubarb, chard, amaranth, and nopal (Mexican prickly pear) cactus.

To beet or not to beet

The history of the beet is a long one. Its ancestor, the wild beet, is thought to have originated in North Africa. Beets were chosen to be featured in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the ancient Romans used it as an aphrodisiac. Seems weird, but they were onto something: Beets contain a high amount of boron, and boron is directly related to the production of sex hormones, helping menopausal women regain their sex drive.

During the Middle Ages, beetroot was used for medicinal purposes. Any issue that involved digestion or illnesses of the blood would use this special ingredient. We don’t know whether people were actually cured of their illnesses, but they were certainly getting some important vitamins and minerals in their diet!

Napoleon also played a role in the popularity of beets. When access to sugar cane was restricted by British powers, Napoleon sent out a decree saying beets would become the main source of sugar.

Beets for your health

Like other superfoods, beets are packed with many needed vitamins and minerals. Beets are high in potassium; magnesium; fiber; phosphorus; iron; vitamins A, B, and C; beta-carotene; beta-cyanine; and folic acid. The high levels of vitamin B and iron help pregnant women form new growth cells during their pregnancy. All these nutrients work together to make the beet a great food to help prevent colon, stomach, nerve, lung, breast, prostate, and testicular cancers.

With the help of pectin polysaccharides, beet fiber provides benefits to the digestive tract and cardiovascular system that other fiber does not. Health research has recently focused on this special fiber to see why it affects the body in such beneficial ways.

Beets are also helpful when detoxifying your body. In “phase 2 detoxification,” our cells hookup activated and unwanted toxic substances with smaller nutrient groups. This step helps neutralize the toxins and also makes them water soluble so they can be excreted through the urine.

Beet lovers might notice one small issue with eating a lot of beets. Beeturia is when your urine turns a reddish/pinkish color from the betalain pigments. This only happens when the body is having problems metabolizing iron. If your urine is turning colors after eating beets, consult your physician!



HHRHealth
For some kids, eating a beet could be considered a form of torture. Maybe if they knew just how good beets are for you—or that astronauts on Apollo 18 served them to their Russian comrades in a traditional borscht meal—they would be more willing to let beets into their...