Beets are so amazing to me. They have a sweet taste yet they are low in calories and rich, very rich, in nutrients.
Make no mistake about it- beets are towards the very top of my anti-cancer armory. I find beets to be oxygenating for the blood and also great for DNA repair- which people who have cancer know is really important.
Let’s break down the benefits of beets one by one, alongside their corresponding studies.
How Can Beets Help Fight Cancer?
Beets help increase nitric oxide
Nitric oxide production is a MUST for total body health. What nitric oxide does is allow blood, oxygen, and nutrients that we need to travel to all the parts of our body. And it does it in a specific and effective manner.
Why does this matter for cancer patients? Because when we have a lack of nitric oxide in our bodies, it can be associated with disease and dysfunction within the body. I always say that cancer is a wakeup call that there is dysfunction in the body. There are many factors at play, but make sure your nitric oxide levels are not one of them. Keep them high. Beets help. This study even shows how highly bioavailable they are when it comes to nitric oxide ruminating through the body.
Beets can help with endurance
I put this because I know so many people dealing with cancer are battling with fatigue. I picture beets not only fighting cancer on an internal level but also on an external level, as they can help us with endurance and preserving energy.
This benefit piggybacks off of the last one because it has to do with nitric oxide. Because beets are so high in nitrate, which converts into nitric oxide, this will your blood vessels which then helps improve circulation. The aftermath? It could help cardiovascular endurance.
Beets also help people who have a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching their tissues, which also impacts endurance.
There is even a small study that shows that beets can help those with heart problems, specifically boosting the muscle.
Beets are high in Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) has been proven to decrease cell viability and even the spread of cancer in many different types, including: ovarian, colorectal, breast and lung.
When it comes to the thyroid, it can decrease cell migration- which is important because we don’t want bad/tumorous cells to deviate from it’s original tumor/place of cancer.
Beets are high in ALA and thus should we be something we eat regularly.
Beets help with DNA repair
An article from the American Institute for Cancer Research said this about beets:
“[Beets] are an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin that is heart-healthy and, because of its role in producing and repairing DNA, seems to be part of our anticancer arsenal, too. The red color comes from compounds called betalains, which laboratory studies suggest could be both heart- and cancer-protective. In animal studies, beets seem to inhibit carcinogen formation and increase production of immune cells and body enzymes that help fight cancer development.”
Beets that were shredded up were tested in vitro (test tube) studies against all these different kinds of cancer cell lines. Researchers looked at the rate of cancer growth when they dripped specific foods over cancer cells. Upon adding beets, the cell growth of tumors went down by more than 50% in prostate, stomach, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancer cells. Brain tumors it was truly amazing as they knocked out cancer cell growth by over 90%.
How to enjoy beets
The best way is to enjoy beets raw (but it’s not the only way) as raw does preserve majority of the nutrients. It’s near impossible to bite into a beet as it’s so tough and hard but it can be nice to shred them or peel them and lay them over salads or soups or other dishes. That is one of the easiest ways.
The second best way is to lightly cook them in water, making sure to keep about 1-2 inches of the stem intact as you cook it. Lightly roasting is also another way to enjoy beets.
You can use beets as a non-toxic way to dye easter eggs!
You can use beets as natural food coloring for desserts.
Juiced beets are actually quite sweet if you need to sweeten up your greens.
Beets make for a beautiful (and nourishing!) soup.
Love the color of acai bowls but don’t have acai? Add beets with frozen bananas!
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