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Meet the Beet: The Misunderstood Superfood

May 21, 2018

Ah, the beet. For years it languished as a punchline to a “kids hate their vegetables” joke or as the main ingredient in borscht. But we considered beets to be a superfood long before that became “a thing”. After all, creating great food that comes fresh from the earth is pretty much our whole business model. So it only makes sense that we would mix fresh beet puree with rich cocoa powder to create one of our favorite tasting bars: Beet + Cocoa . It’s a superfood double-play that really hits it out of the park. It is this passion for the beet that inspires us to sing its praises, so join us in a lively celebration of this wonderful root vegetable, and you might be surprised to learn how nutritious, delicious, and versatile it really is.

The Super-est of Superfoods?

There’s a darn good reason moms throughout the ages have exhorted their children to eat their beets: they are incredibly good for your body. Let’s consider some of the most impressive benefits:

  • Improves blood pressure. We’re not talking, “Oh, after years of eating beets some people in the Ural mountains experienced minor improvements in blood pressure.” In fact, drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points. That’s because of the naturally occurring nitrates in beets. Those are converted by your body into nitric oxide, which helps relax and dilate your blood vessels. By enhancing blood flow, beets also can enhance physical performance.
  • Fights Cancer. Dense with powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color, these little red wonders may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animals when administered in drinking water, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.
  • Good for the brain. Beets can just make you feel good. They contain betaine, an amino acid that works as a natural antidepressant. Even more amazing, the folic acid in beetroot can help protect against Alzheimer’s Disease by preventing damage to the hippocampus, which the brain devoted to memory and learning.

Research suggests they can also reduce pain from arthritis and lead to weight loss. So now you’re saying, “Yeah, we get it: beets are great for you. Enough!” But that’s ignoring the fact that they are also super-yummy.

Eat to the Beet

Forget everything you have heard about beets being difficult to prepare and eat. All lies! Besides being amazing in a Phyter bar, we have some go-to recipes you should try that incorporate the incredible beet.

  • Strawberry + Beet Chia Pudding.
    • In a blender, blend strawberries, non-dairy milk, steamed and cubed beets, and vanilla until smooth.
    • Combine the liquid with chia seeds and refrigerate overnight.
    • Top with maple syrup, coconut, or other desired toppings.
  • Rosemary Roasted Beets.
    • Peel whole beets with a vegetable peeler or paring knife and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
    • Toss in a bowl with some olive oil, rosemary sprigs, and a pinch of salt + pepper.
    • Line a baking dish with tin foil and roast beets at 375 degrees or 25 minutes.
    • Once finished roasting, drain any liquid in the dish.
    • Drizzle in some maple syrup and balsamic vinegar.
    • Turn the oven up to 425 degrees and roast beets for 5-10 more minutes.
  • Apple Beet Ginger Juice.
    • Combine 2 medium apples, 1 large beet (peeled and diced), 1 inch knob of ginger (peeled), juice from 1/2 a lemon, 2 cubs cold water, and ice in a blender.
    • Blend until smooth.

Tip: While these recipes feature the root, it’s important to remember you can eat the whole dang thing. In fact, the green leafy tops are among the healthiest part of the plant. So go beet crazy!

So there you have it: the beet is where it’s at. If you’ve been beet-shy, it’s time to see what you’ve been missing. And if you’re already a beet believer, perhaps you have some of your own recipes to share or tales of your own beet benefit experiences. As we think you can tell, we’re always happy to talk about beets.