We got the BEET, the health beat that is.
Why are these ruby red gems so good for you? I am going to give you the healthy low-down AND show you how easy they are to cook in the Instant Pot. If beets are not your thing, I encourage you to give them another go.
Beets are loaded with nutritional properties which make them a great addition to any meal. You really can do a lot with them, once they are cooked.
What are the benefits of eating beets?
- Promote Heart Health
- High in Antioxidants
- Relieve Inflammation
- Support Digestive Health
- Aid in Detoxification
- Boost Stamina
Promote a healthy heart
Beets have natural occurring nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
One study shows how drinking beet juice can lower blood pressure 4-5 points within hours. Another study in 2017 shows how beet juice helped lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol with people with uncontrolled blood pressure.
High in antioxidants
Beets are high in disease-fighting phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and trace minerals. In fact, beets are an excellent source of a certain type of phytonutrients called betalains. Betalains are responsible for providing beets with their vibrant color. In vitro studies have found that these potent pigments may help protect against the development of certain types of cancer and disease.
Chronic inflammation is the root of most diseases and may be a major contributor to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and even obesity.
Foods that are processed and that contain high amounts of sugar and low amounts of nutrients are huge culprits for creating inflammation. So consuming whole foods like beets is an excellent way to keep inflammation in check.
This study confirmed the anti-inflammatory properties of beets, showing that both cooked beets and beet juice were able to lower levels of inflammatory markers in people with high blood pressure.
Support digestive health
Beets are loaded with fiber, providing 3.8 grams in each cup. Fiber is important because it moves through the intestines undigested, adding bulk to the stool to help support regularity and promote better digestive health.
Research also suggests that upping your fiber intake through foods like beets, benefits digestive health in and may be protective against conditions like diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and GERD.
Aid in Detoxification
Beet juice benefits liver function, which helps to keep it working efficiently so it can keep your body free of toxins. An animal model published in the journal Phytotherapy Research showed that beetroot juice helped increase the levels of specific enzymes involved in detoxification.
If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, or to make it through your day as a mother of young children, beet juice may prove a valuable addition to your diet. An interesting study showed those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer.
This benefit is also related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
I think a lot of us could use this superfood into our diet. What do you think?
Some ways you can add this brightly colored root into your diet
Raw – Juice them and drink
Cooked – Add them to salads, side dishes, rice bowls or pureed with butter. Yum!
Don’t throw the beet greens away!
Beet greens also contain a good amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that play a central role in eye health and can reduce the risk of conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts.
To make sure your beets are fresh, buy them with the greens still attached. When I cut off the greens, I like to wash them and put them in a zip bag to either juice them or steam them. They are really yummy steamed with a little butter and lemon on top!
How do you cook beets?
With the Instant Pot of course! You can just steam them on the stove, but why do that when you can save time and stress less.
Place steam basket into the pot
This is the steam basket I use. I use it for so many things!
Cut the beets into halves or quarters, depending on size, and place them into the instant pot
Place the lid on the Instant Pot.
Choose “STEAM” or “MANUAL” setting and set for 17 minutes.
Flip valve to pressure position
When beeper goes off, flip valve switch to “QUICK RELEASE”
Remove steam basket
These red silicone mitts work really well for removing the inner pot without getting burnt. Hot pads are bulky and a little harder to manipulate.
Cool and peel the beets
Let them cool just a bit and then peel off the skin.
BIG TIP: If you don’t want red hands, I have a little trick. Grab a couple pieces of cling wrap and place them over your hands. Then pick up a beet and rub it. The skin will just slip off.
Ta dah! No stained hands.
Shred, Dice or Slice and enjoy!
I like to save the beet water that is left over in the pot. Why? Because it is chuck full of nutritional goodness. When the liquid is cool, it actually taste pretty good. It makes for a yummy drink snack.
If you don’t eat all the beets in one sitting, save them to put in rice bowls or salads the next day.
Steamed beets are not only nutritious, but easy to make in the Instant Pot.
- 1 Bunch Fresh Beets
Cut the greens off the beets and save for steaming.
Add one cup of water to the Instant Pot
Place a steam basket in the pot
Cut the beets into halves or quarters, depending on size. Place them in the steam basket
Place lid on the Instant Pot and choose STEAM or MANUAL and adjust time to 17 minutes
Flip valve to pressure position
When beeper goes off, flip switch to remove steam. Using mitts or hot pad remove the steam basket and let the beets cool just a bit.
Peel off the skin. Cut, slice or dice and enjoy!