Happy 2012 to All from Inspired Edibles!
As we welcome in the New Year, I thought it might be particularly timely to share some fresh ideas on clean eating.
January is an ideal opportunity to take stock in our health and get ourselves grounded in some health-building routines.
To kick things off, I’m featuring foods that minimize inflammation in the body and help support our liver (that wonderful organ that works so hard to clear toxins from our blood – our body’s true detoxification agent). Virtually every nutrient we consume, is filtered through our liver and transformed into a biochemical form that our bodies can use. When we bombard our livers with non-foods and drugs of various kinds (including alcohol), we risk overburdening this vitally important organ and undermining its ability to function optimally for our health and wellness.
Today, we are giving our bodies a well deserved boost by celebrating the benefits of glorious beets in the company of some other powerhouse nutrients. And, here’s some even better news, you won’t need a juicer to make it happen!
Beets are a particularly excellent source of folate and potassium and a good source of manganese, fibre and vitamin C – nutrients that have been shown to help protect us against heart disease, birth defects and certain forms of cancer.
Don’t throw out the greens!
Beet greens, for their part, are an excellent source of vitamin K as well as a good source of magnesium, iron and potassium. They are also an outstanding source of lutein, an antioxidant that helps shield our eyes from free radical damage serving to protect us against macular degeneration and cataracts.
Beet greens can be easily incorporated into soups, stews, salads and stir fries.
Anti-inflammatory, Healthy Aging and Liver Support:
The pigment that gives beets their gorgeous purple-red hue is also responsible for many of the vegetable’s health benefits.
Beets contain betaine, a natural compound that has been shown to reduce the growth of many types of cancer cells. Betaine also acts to shield cells from aging by helping protect the liver from chemical damage and reducing inflammation in the body. Congestion throughout the body and a sluggish liver can contribute not only to fatigue and discomfort, but also to weight gain, especially in the abdominal region. Abdominal fat, in turn, sets the stage for a cascade of inflammatory processes throughout the body which many health care practitioners now believe may be the root of disease.
There are also natural nitrates found in beets that function to improve blood flow to the brain. This mechanism assists in supporting cognitive function and reducing the risk of age-related dementia by enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Beet and Apple Cucumber Refresher
1 generous cup cooked and sliced beets, roasted or well rinsed from a can
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
1 happy looking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
Juice of one lemon
Handful of parsley
1/4 cup water or to desired consistency
Be sure to keep your beet greens and left-over parsley – we will be using them in another recipe later this week;
The apple lends just the right amount of natural sweetness to this drink but, if you like, you can add a tsp or so of unpasteurized honey or agave to the mix;
If you choose to roast the beets, you can do so using this method.
Combine beets, cucumber, apple, lemon juice and parsley together in a blender. Add water and blend – beginning with 1/4 cup and slowly adding more – until ingredients are smooth and desired consistency is achieved.