Just eat beets. March 17 2014, 0 Comments
Going to a Plant Based diet was never in my plan. Just a year ago, we had a few vegetarians on our team training camp and I made fun of them all weekend long. A few bonked and went home early. I never imagined you could live on just plants alone. Low and behold, I go to Tommy D's camp and come back with new thoughts.
I was talking to Tommy D the other day with a question about diet and he simply said "Eat more beets." No scientific reason. No data. No other information... just... Eat. More. Beets. So, I did. And I improved while training in Spain. Like Tommy D, I don't have a real good explanation on what specifically changed for me, but I rode better and recovered faster.
So - Here is the scientific data I was searching for:
The red pigments found in beets are known as betalains, which are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory, antifungal and anticarcinogenic properties. In lab studies, betalains have shown significant promise in fighting pancreatic, lung, colon, prostate, testicular, breast and stomach cancer cells. These potent antioxidants also work to protect the body’s cells from environmental stressors, and help to protect organs and tissues from oxidative damage.
Betalains have also been linked to strong detoxification properties, and may aid in flushing various types of toxins from the body. Traditionally, beets have been employed to purify the blood and liver, and the betalains are likely at least partially responsible for this effect.
Betalains have also been associated with lowering the risk of birth defects, as well as lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. In order to preserve the most amount of betalain content in your beets, cook them as little as possible – steaming or roasting until just done does the trick.
To preserve the maximum amount of the nutrients and disease-fighting qualities of beets, you can peel raw beets, chop them, and toss them in your juicer. Beet juice has been found to help lower blood pressure, likely as a result of the natural nitrate content.
The natural nitrates found in beets convert to nitric oxide in the body, which aids in relaxing blood vessels, improving circulation, and providing energy. Needless to say, all of these effects work to further prevent the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease.
On top of that, beets are rich in vitamin C, which is crucial for the health of the immune system. It also improves skin health, and reduces inflammation throughout the body, which helps to ward off all sorts of chronic ailments.
The fiber content of beets helps to keep your digestive system running smoothly, promotes healthy gut bacteria, stabilizes blood sugar, and may further reduce the risk of digestive-related illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even colon cancer.