All about that beet
Hannah Eckstein | Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Would you intentionally eat something that tastes like dirt? How about starting your day with dirt-flavored juice? The answer, surprisingly, for many people who have made beet juice a dietary staple, is yes.
Beet juice often gets a bad reputation for its unappetizing flavor. According to Irwin Goldron, a professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin, some plants, such as beets, cilantro, mushrooms and spinach contain a chemical called geosmin. This harmless chemical is responsible for the offensive taste that some people report when eating beets. Simply put, beets are chemically made to taste like dirt. But could the health benefits of these blood red roots be worth gulping down some unappetizing juice? You better beet-lieve it.
The benefits of beets date back to ancient Greece, where beet roots were used to heal wounds and treat fevers. Today, research has proven that the benefits of beets go far beyond regulating body temperature.
Beets are rich in antioxidants and nitrates, which improve blood flow throughout the body. Reports have shown that drinking one to two cups of beet juice per day can help to decrease blood pressure. In addition, the nitrates found in beets help to increase oxygen flow through the body. Because of this, beet juice has been reported to increase energy and endurance throughout the day. It is highly recommended for endurance athletes such as runners, cyclers and swimmers. Some studies even suggest that drinking beet juice prior to an endurance workout can increase performance.
Endurance and energy aren’t the only way that this super-juice contributes to overall health. Beets are loaded with vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium fiber, phosphorus and iron. They also contain phytonutrients, which can help prevent cancer and fight inflammation. Finally, beet juice helps to break down toxins in the body, and is a great form of detoxification.
With all of these health benefits, it’s clear that the nutritional value of beet juice outweighs the unappealing flavor. So if you’re looking to try and increase endurance, or just pack in more minerals, why not try marching to a different beet? Just a word of caution for those brave enough to try this new juice trend: beet juice acts as a natural dye, and what goes in the body, must come out.
Here’s a recipe from bonappetit.com to try that might just mask the taste while still giving you all the rich benefits. If you don’t happened to have a juicer in your dorm room, you and some friends should think about investing in one — it’s a great way to get all your fruits and veggies in your diet while still tasting delicious.
- 2 pounds beets (about 6 medium), trimmed, peeled, cut into 1′ pieces
- 1 pound carrots (about 4 large), trimmed, peeled, cut into 1′ pieces
- 1 Gala or Empire apple (about 8 ounces), cored, cut into 1′ pieces
- 1 Granny Smith apple (about 8 ounces), cored, cut into 1′ pieces
- 1 3′ piece fresh ginger, peeled, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Pass first 5 ingredients through a juicer. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in lemon juice. Pour into glasses