Aug 142012
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BeetMost people are familiar with the crinkle-cut vinegary jarred variety of beets. But did you know that you can also eat fresh beets raw. Simply wash, peel and grate them.


Here are 5 great reasons why you should eat raw beets:





1) Heating beets decreases their antioxidant power

Antioxidants are used by the body to help remove free radicals. Free radical damage can occur due to exposure to external factors (such as pollution, smoking, chemicals and radiation) or internal factors (such as normal bodily metabolic processes). Beets are extremely high in an antioxidant pigment called betalain, which is what gives beets their red color. Studies have found that the antioxidant power of betalain deteriorates as cooking time increases, so eating raw beets allows your body to get the maximum antioxidant benefit.



2) Beets contain both Iron and Vitamin C

My mother always told me to drink a glass of orange juice whenever I eat eggs because Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron. Beets contain both Vitamin C and iron, so no additional food needs to be eaten to gain maximum iron absorption. However Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means that cooking beets in water will result in a loss of Vitamin C and therefore a reduction in iron absorption. To get the maximum iron from beets you should eat them raw.



3) Beet juice reduces high blood pressure

Juiced raw beets have been found to dramatically reduce high blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Use your juicer to mix them with a variety of other fruits and vegetables.



4) Beets are high in folic acid

Cooked beets have lower levels of folic acid (or folate) than raw beets. Folic acid is used by the body to maintain proper cell division. While it is important for everyone to get adequate folic acid, it is especially important for pregnant women. A deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy has been linked to fetal neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.



5) Easy to prepare

Raw beets are easier to prepare then cooked beets. No need to wrap them in foil and roast them for an hour. Simply cut off their stalks (you can save the stalks to cook, if you like), wash the beets well in running water, peel and discard the skin, and grate them on the coarse side of your grater. Their color looks beautiful in any salad, but remember to wear an apron during preparation to avoid getting magenta streaks on your clothes.



Note: 10-15% of people experience a condition called Beeturia, where their urine turns red after the consumption of beets. Beeturia is considered harmless, but in some people may be an indication of an issue with iron metabolism. You may want to consult your doctor regarding your iron status if you experience Beeturia.

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