(NaturalHealth365) If you’re trying to alkalize the body and optimize your health – beet greens would be a wise choice. With an earthy bitter taste – these greens have a reputation for helping to regenerate and reactivate red blood cells by supplying oxygen throughout the body. But, most importantly, beet greens can help to detoxify the body, inhibit cancer cell growth and eliminate constipation.
The ancient Romans were among the first civilizations to consume beets, surprisingly enough they eat the beet greens for their medicinal value while the roots were discarded. Only many years later, was it discovered that the roots were edible and quickly became quite popular – especially (now) in the natural health community.
Regenerate liver function by eating beet greens – daily
A 2012 study investigated the liver protecting action of beet greens in rat liver cultures and rats with hepatatoxicity. Test tube studies used n-butanol fraction of the beet leaves, and the rats were fed at a dose of 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg. Test tube and lab studies both showed significant liver protecting effects . The results of this study concluded that beet greens have potent hepatoprotective effect against ethanol-induced hepatic toxicity and it may have a great potential role in the management of alcoholic liver disease.
In addition, beet greens are also rich in phytochemicals such as betalains – betacyanins (red-violet pigments), betaxanthines (yellow pigments), flavonoids, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. According to research, the combination of phyto-pigments and antioxidant effect exert a significant liver protecting action. Beet greens provide about 13 mg of the essential aminoacid tryptophan in one cup.
In addition, tryptophan helps to produce the neurotransmitter, serotonin – which regulates mood and sleep cycles in humans. Getting adequate tryptophan in the diet helps to prevent mood imbalances and promote healthy sleep cycles, which are important aspects of detoxification.
What are the best ways to enjoy beet greens?
Beet greens are in the same plant family as chard and spinach. Just like kale and bok choy, these greens are a great source of mixed carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin. A cup of greens provide about 275 micrograms of lutein, 48% of the daily value of vitamin A, 190% of the daily value for vitamin K and 19% of the daily value for vitamin C .
Beet greens are easy to prepare and you can enjoy them raw in salads, juices or smoothies. For cooking, don’t overdo it – a quick boil or steam, then add some extra virgin olive oil to taste. Another good idea is to combine beet greens with mung beans to make a nutritious salad. Beet greens are good to use within 2 -3 days after refrigeration – so use them quickly.
A guide to selecting beet greens
Choose beet greens that are dark, green color with fresh-looking beet roots attached. Wilted or yellowing greens are low in nutrition and should be avoided. Be sure to store greens in large, dry glass containers along with a strip of paper towel to absorb excess moisture or store away in well-sealed refrigerator vegetable bins. Beet greens are easily susceptible to wilting – so eat them all within 3-5 days. Never leave leafy greens in plastic produce bags as they will go bad very quickly. As with any leafy green, choose organic whenever possible.
Keep in mind, beets – especially beet greens – contain oxalates. If you have an kidney or gall bladder issues – talk to a natural healthcare provider about how to incorporate dark, leafy green vegetables into your diet. Whenever you think about detoxification – it’s important to be sure that all of your elimination pathways are working properly. A diet, rich in greens, will help you to improve your metabolism and rid the body of unwanted (toxic) substances like, heavy metals, excess calcium, and pesticides. (to name a few)
Don’t wait until something bad happens to you – take good care of yourself and enjoy the rewards of a healthy lifestyle.
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1. Jain NK, Singhai AK. Protective role of Beta Vulagris L leaves extract and fractions of ethanol-mediated hepatic toxicity. Acta Pol Pharm. 2012 Sep-Oct;69(5):945-50.
2. Agarwal M, Srivastava VK, Saxena KK, Kumar A. Hepatoprotective activity of Beta vulgaris against CCl4-induced hepatic injury in rats. Fitoterapia. 2006 Feb;77(2):91-3. Epub 2005 Dec 20.
3. Ninfali P, Angelino D. Nutritional and functional potential of Beta vulgaris cicla and rubra. Fitoterapia. 2013 Sep;89:188-99.
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