The betalin pigments in beets support activity in our body’s Phase 2 detoxification process. Phase 2 is the metabolic step that our cells use to hook activated, unwanted toxic substances up with small nutrient groups.
The betalains found in beets trigger glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity and aid in the elimination of toxins that require glutathione for excretion.
Beets are also an excellent source of heart-healthy folate and a very good source of the antioxidant manganese and heart-healthy potassium. Beets are a good source of digestive-supportive dietary fiber, free radical scavenging vitamin C and copper, bone-healthy magnesium, and energy-producing iron and phosphorus.
- 3 medium beets about 3″ in diameter
- 1 medium clove of garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 10 chopped basil leaves
- 1 Tbsp chopped dill
- 1 Tbsp chopped chives
- salt to taste (salt will blunt beets’ color, so add only at the end of cooking or before serving)
- Wash beets, leaving 2 inches of tap root and 1 inch of the stem on the beets.
- Cut beets into quarters. Do not peel.
- Steam covered for 15 minutes. Beets are cooked when you can easily insert a fork into the beet.
- Cut off stems and tap root, and peel beets by rubbing them with a paper towel.
- Transfer beets to a bowl and toss with remaining ingredients while they are still hot.
Cook beets lightly. Studies show beets’ concentration of phytonutrients, such as betalains, is diminished by heat. Or try the raw version below…
Raw Mediterranean Beet Salad
(Add 1 Tbsp of honey and 1 large head of lettuce to ingredients listed above in the Mediterranean Beet Salad) Serves 4
- Wash beets, and cut off stems and tap root. Do not peel.
- Grate beets by hand or in a food processor.
- Mix remaining ingredients (except the lettuce) and pour over beets.
- Let marinade 8 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, shred 1 large head of lettuce and put onto 4 serving plates.
- Sprinkle 1/4 of beets onto each plate of shredded lettuce, using remaining marinade to drizzle over lettuce.