Can beet greens really improve liver function by removing unwanted toxins?

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beet-greens-liver-health(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 ate the beet greens for their medicinal value while the roots were discarded.  Only many years later did they discovered that the roots were edible and quickly became quite popular – especially (now) in the natural health community.

Beet greens contain powerful compounds that regenerate liver function

A 2012 study investigated the liver-protecting action of beet greens in rat liver cultures and rats with hepatoxicity.  Test tube studies used an 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.  This study concluded that beet greens have a potent hepatoprotective effect against ethanol-induced hepatic toxicity and 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 exerts a significant liver-protecting action.  Beet greens provide about 13 mg of the essential amino acid tryptophan in one cup.

In addition, tryptophan helps produce the neurotransmitter, serotonin – which regulates mood and sleep cycles in humans.  Getting adequate tryptophan in the diet helps prevent mood imbalances and promote healthy sleep cycles, which are important aspects of detoxification.

Attention beet lovers: Beet greens loaded with nutrients, plus you can enjoy them in various ways

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 provides 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.

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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.  Use the greens within 2 -3 days after refrigeration – so use them quickly.

Here is what to keep in mind when choosing and storing beet greens

Choose beet greens that are dark, green color with fresh-looking beetroots 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 them away in well-sealed refrigerator vegetable bins.  These 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 – and their greens – contain oxalates.  If you have kidney or gall bladder issues – talk to a natural healthcare provider about incorporating 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 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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