Benefits of Beets

* By Susan Conley, creator of cookthestone.com 

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet.

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet.

Beets won’t exactly be the first thing that comes to your mind when asked about favorite vegetables. This root vegetable may not be as well-known as carrot or squash, but only a few veggies can match up with its nutritional value.

Health benefits of beets

  1. Control blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease like stroke, heart failure, and heart attacks. Heart disease also happens to be one of the top causes of death today.

Eating beets can improve your blood pressure. Experts say this is due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets, which our bodies convert to the compound nitric oxide that relaxes and dilates the blood vessels. When this happens, the blood vessels promote improved blood circulation and consequently lower blood pressure.

There have been numerous studies backing up this claim. Some studies have also indicated that beets can lower blood pressure by as much as 10 mmHg a few hours after consumption. The positive effect on blood pressure is stronger when raw beets are eaten.

  1. Improve digestion

Like most vegetables, beets are rich in dietary fiber which has been linked to numerous health benefits such as improved digestion.

Did you know that a cup of beetroot already has 3.4 grams of fiber? That’s about 20 percent of the recommended daily value for dietary fiber!

Fiber can promote digestive health by bypassing digestion and heading straight to the colon, where it can add bulk to stool or feed gut-friendly bacteria. By getting more fiber out of your foods, you can regularly eliminate waste and lower your risks of digestive problems like constipation and inflammatory bowel disease.

Plus, fiber can also lower your risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

  1. Enhance your stamina

While eating beets won’t really make you into a world-class athlete, regular consumption of this root vegetable can improve your stamina and enhance your athletic performance.

This wonderful benefit of beets is believed to come from the high nitrate contents of beets. Nitrates have been associated with enhanced efficiency of mitochondria which produces energy in the cells. Numerous studies have also backed up these claims, and many elite athletes are known to incorporate beets into their diets.

One study conducted and published in 2009 showed that cyclists who drank beet juice were able to pedal up to 15 percent longer. The author of the said study says eating 3-5 beets at least two hours before an event can give an individual a boost in performance.

  1. Enhance your brain’s performance

Eating beets can make your brain work better. I suggest you eat beets before taking an exam as it could enhance cognitive function.

Again, the nitrates found in beets are responsible for this wonderful benefit. By relaxing and dilating the blood vessels, nitrates can promote increased blood flow to the brain which could lead to improved brain function.

This effect is particularly critical for senior adults because studies have shown that the body’s capacity to generate nitric oxide decreases with age.

In one study conducted in 2010, 14 participants with an average age of 74 were asked to eat a high-nitrate diet that included beet juice. They were then observed to have increased focus and attention to detail for two days afterward.

  1. Lose weight

Beets are low in calories and high in water which makes them a good food to incorporate into your weight loss diet.

But what’s intriguing is that beets also have protein and fiber despite their low-calorie content. Protein and fiber are two essential nutrients for maintaining a healthy weight.

You will also be able to lose weight when you eat more beets because the vegetable can increase the feeling of satiety and reduce your appetite.

  1. Lower your risks of cancer and other diseases

Beets contain the potent antioxidants called betalains which can lower your risks of chronic disease like cancer and heart disease. It also has betacyanin which can protect the body against carcinogens. Betacyanin is the pigment responsible for the purple hue of beets.

Conclusion

With the many health benefits of beets, we should be eating more beets as a good way to incorporate a vegetable into your diet.

There are many ways to enjoy beets. You can juice or steam it. You can also roast or pickle it. But I would suggest avoiding the boiling beets to preserve the nitrates which are water soluble. Or simply let your home blender do all the work, then you will have a perfect drink for good health after few minutes.

Besides those ideas above, there are many excellent ways to prepare beets that you can use in your daily life.

Let me know what you usually do with beets in the comment section below.

Happy cooking!

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet./>

Is Cabbage a Superfood?

Cabbage can increase the immunity level of our body, help us to prevent anemia and swelling; it can cure hangovers, some joints diseases and even provide healthy beautiful nails, hair and skin.

Cabbage can increase the immunity level of our body, help us to prevent anemia and swelling; it can cure hangovers, some joints diseases and even provide healthy beautiful nails, hair and skin. Most people hate cabbage. Most people think it’s boring, hard to digest and generally a bad tasting vegetable when in fact the humble cabbage is full of wonders! Ancient Greeks used it as an antidote for mushroom poisoning, to heal bruises or as a laxative; ancient Romans used it to cure hangovers… as the years were passing by we discovered more and more about the health benefits of cabbage.

Cabbage is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals including a high content of vitamin K and C, folate, iron and vitamin B6 to name just a few of the common ones. It’s a perfect weight loss food – low in calories, high in fiber and packed with necessary nutrients. Eating cabbage can help detox our body, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar; cabbage has anti-inflammatory, probiotic and antioxidant properties; it promotes brain health and can improve our defenses against neural degenerative conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Ideally, cabbage should be eaten as close to a raw state as possible. Cabbage juice can truly work wonders (you will need about 2kg of cabbage for 1l of juice) and our body assimilates it within minutes. It’s advised to drink 200ml of cabbage juice about 30 minutes before a meal three times a day (if we feel bloated adding carrot or spinach juice can help to relieve this discomfort). The juice must be fresh so making a large amount in advance isn’t advised. Also, the cabbage itself must be “as healthy” as possible, so go organic.

Eating and drinking cabbage juice is one thing but there are also many benefits from using raw cabbage on its own in a different way. Cabbage leaves can help to relieve pain from our body, they work as an antiseptic removing toxins from the skin. They can treat joint pains, burns, frostbites, ulcers, blisters, cold sores, insect bites or hard healing wounds. To prepare a cabbage compress, take a few large, fresh cabbage leaves and gently crush them with a rolling pin until you can smell it (I know it might sound weird but once you do it, you will know exactly what I mean at that precise moment). Then apply it to the affected area. Heating up the leaves before application can intensified the effect – you can heat them up by placing the leaves on a warm radiator or if you’re lucky in some direct sun for a few minutes.

Another use for cabbage is a beauty mask – it has anti-aging properties and if used regularly can really benefit our skin. To prepare a cabbage beauty mask mix 2 tablespoons of fresh cabbage juice with 2 tablespoons of apple juice, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of fresh yeast. Apply to your face and neck and leave on for 20-25 minutes.

I don’t know about you but I am totally sold on cabbage!

Are you a cabbage lover?

 

For some more cabbage related inspiration check out:

Superfood – All Things Coconut!

Who would have guessed that this rather sad looking hairy brown fruit or that a bold green one, when talking about a young one, is in fact a superfood.

Coconut has it all.

According to nutritionist Zoë Harcombe ‘coconuts are a perfect example of a natural, real food. They contain all the macronutrients – carbohydrate, fat and protein. As well as being absolutely delicious and full of natural fat, coconuts are a rich source of minerals, including copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and selenium.’

Who would have guessed that this rather sad looking hairy brown fruit or that a bold green one, when talking about a young one, is in fact a superfood. Coconut has it all. According to nutritionist Zoë Harcombe ‘coconuts are a perfect example of a natural, real food. They contain all the macronutrients – carbohydrate, fat and protein. As well as being absolutely delicious and full of natural fat, coconuts are a rich source of minerals, including copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and selenium.’Lately I’ve been obsessed with coconuts, which is reflected in my recipes… I bake with it, I cook with it and I eat it raw 🙂 So imagine my surprise when one day a giant parcel arrived at my door step full of coconut goodies! A box full of totally different products with one thing in common… they were all made entirely from 100% coconut and absolutely nothing else!

The parcel was from Coconut Merchant, they stock all things coconut and I simply love their selection from such common products as desiccated coconut through items such as coconut oils, flour, milk, water, chips, syrup, sugar all the way to jam, yes that’s right coconut jam!

When you Google “benefits of coconut” you will be hit with 1000+ articles claiming lots of wonders:

  • It helps prevent obesity
  • It helps your immune system
  • It improves heart health
  • It improves digestion
  • It’s high in dietary fiber
  • It has low GI index
  • It’s gluten-free
  • It has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties

I don’t know if they are all true, I am not a scientist, but I am sure at least some, if not all of them, are.

For all I know from my own experience coconut products helped me to care for my two dogs… coconut oil, despite being an oil and full of fat has helped Lilly with her weight loss and only recently I cured Bunk’s giant hot spot only with coconut oil (it was a bit tricky as he wanted to lick it all the time but it worked without the need of a vet visit, antibiotics or other manmade gimmicks). After using it for over a year for the dogs I did a bit of research and decided that coconut products are obviously not only for dogs and we should benefit from it too… this is how my coconut obsession began.

Cooking with coconut based ingredients is tricky at times, especially when we are talking about coconut flour; it really likes moisture so it can’t be substituted 1:1 with regular flour… developing new recipes with it takes a bit of thinking, time and countless trial and error attempts but I think it’s worth it as the results are mouth-watering to say the least.

Now, I want to experiment with coconut sugar, which to be honest I didn’t even know existed. I use coconut flower nectar which has a liquid form but now I actually have a solid sugar. Yes, it’s still a sugar so it can’t be used in sugar free cooking but it’s unrefined, without artificial additives and it has a much lower GI index… I am looking forward to actually trying it in my cooking.

Do you love coconut?

Have you ever used anything besides desiccated coconut in cooking or baking?

Aronia Muffins – Gluten & Sugar Free

Aronia Muffins – Gluten & Sugar FreeThese gluten, wheat and sugar free muffins with added antioxidants rich aronia berries, called by some the healthiest fruit in the world, are a perfect home baked healthy treat. Packed with good ingredients they offer a guilt free treat whilst improving your health through better nutrition.

Aronia, or so called chokeberries, come in several different varieties – red, black and purple – but they all offer a long, long list of health benefits and well deserve being labelled a superfood.

If you have never tried aronia berries before you should give them a go. There are like no other fruits; their flavour is complex and quite hard to describe. They aren’t sweet, yet they aren’t sour either; they are moist and juicy yet they leave your mouth dry just like after eating a lemon… they are truly one of a kind.

If you fancy gluten and sugar free muffins and don’t have a pack of aronia berries to hand, simple replace them with any other barriers that you love.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 100g coconut flour
  • 65g organic, virgin cold pressed coconut oil
  • 5tbsp raw natural honey
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 150g aronia berries
  • Stevia sweetener (or icing sugar) for decoration (optional)

 

Aronia Muffins – Gluten & Sugar FreeMethod:

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Prepare 12 piece muffin tray by lining it with paper or silicone muffin casings.

Measure the coconut oil and put it in a small bowl and place in the microwave. Microwave for 10 seconds, than rest for 30 seconds; then microwave again for 10 seconds… after two sessions the oil should be almost melted (depending on the power of your microwave, alternatively melt on a very low heat in a small saucepan)… use a fork to move it around to assure it is entirely melted.

In another small bowl mix the coconut flour, salt and baking powder.

Place the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk until blended, then add all the other ingredients – wet and dry, except for the berries and whisk again until everything is well combined.

Gently fold in the berries and spoon your mixture into the pre-prepared cases. The batter will be extremely runny almost like a liquid but don’t worry it should be like this. You will have enough mixture for 10 large muffins or 12 medium ones, more of a cupcake shape… the choice is yours.

Bake in the earlier preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick pushed in to the middle comes out clean and dry.

Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before moving them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Aronia Muffins - Gluten & Sugar FreeOnce cooled completely sprinkle with dusting sugar – either processed or a stevia based sweetener – serve and enjoy!

Have you ever baked with aronia before?

These gluten, wheat and sugar free muffins with added antioxidants rich aronia berries, called by some the healthiest fruit in the world, are a perfect home baked healthy treat. Packed with good ingredients they offer a guilt free treat whilst improving your health through better nutrition.

Discover the power of honey

Discover the power of honeyLast month I shared with you my thoughts on healthy sweets (if you missed it, you can read it here); we covered sugar intake and the importance of natural ingredients but we didn’t really go into any details regarding the power of honey… well today I want to talk about honey!

Discover the power of honeyWe have no interest in a sweet substance that is similar to honey; no we want the real deal we want real honey. You would be surprised at what some people / companies will do to benefit from honey. Some types of honey are extremely valuable and have many great benefits as you probably know… so surprise surprise some people fake it! Yes that’s right, not only are Nike trainers or boutique perfumes getting their “aftermarket” copies… apparently honey is too. If you want to know more about choosing the right high value honey for yourself you might want to read: Manuka Honey – How to buy a real deal.

But back to my main topic… honey… this natural super-food made by bees has an awful lot to offer. To start with natural honey is… well, natural! There are no weird E number additions, no fake colorants; nothing manmade should ever be found inside natural wild honey.

Honey is a great source of carbs, which are necessary in every diet. As a natural sugar it is absorbed quickly and offers an almost immediate energy boost enhancing our performance and reducing any muscle fatigue.

It is also a natural sweetener. It can be used as a sugar replacement, which will provide our body with greater benefits than any processed white sugar.

Honey also works wonders in the world of skin care. As it attracts and retains moisture exceptionally well it makes a perfect ingredient for any moisturizing product. But that’s not all; you actually don’t have to buy honey based products to benefit from it; just use some pure honey. For example have you ever experienced dry chapped lips, redundant question I know… well next time you do, simply massage some honey into them and you will see great results in no time at all.

Last but not least honey can be helpful as a medicine as it has antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties. For centuries our ancestors were using it as a home remedy to “fix” many problems. Are you suffering from a sore throat? Honey to the rescue! Got a cut or burn? Treat it with honey to speed up the natural healing process. Can’t sleep? Drink a cup of milk with added honey and your times of counting endless sheep will be over.

Honey really is wonderful! And to add to all its other great benefits it also taste great 🙂

Love Marlenka is embracing the power of honey by using it to create 100% natural – no preservatives, synthetic colouring or thickeners – delicious tasting sweet treats.

Discover the power of honey & #win with Love MarlenkaIn celebration of the launch of Napoleonky, which are the newest addition to their treat range, Love Marlenka kindly offered a selection of their honey based treats to one of my readers.

To enter the giveaway and be in with a chance of winning selection of Love Marlenka sweets including their new Napoleonky simply complete the Gleam below.

#win a selection of Love Marlenka honey treats

T&C:
1. Open to UK readers only.
2. This giveaway is sponsored by Love Marlenka.
3. There will be 1 winner chosen at random from all valid entries by Gleam.
4. The winner will receive a selection of Love Marlenka 100% natural treats including the new Napoleonky. The prize will only be fulfilled by Love Marlenka.
5. The winner will have 7 working days to claim the prize, after this time, a new winner will be selected.
6. Closing date for the giveaway is Sunday 07/06/2015 at 23:59pm, any entry made after this time will not be counted.

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