Have you noticed beet hummus in stores yet? It seems to be popping up ever so discretely; or as discrete as magenta-colored hummus can be. I’ve only seen it in two stores round these parts and it doesn’t seem to be selling like hotcakes. I wonder if it’s the vibrant color or the simple fact that it contains beets which cause people to steer clear.
Beets are hit or miss with most – unless you work in my office, in which case us 4 girls can’t get enough of our pickled beets. We even have Beet Fund Jar…
I think it’s the earthy flavor and maybe the unique texture of beets that turn people off. Or maybe it was the traumatizing memory of tasting beets as a child that has caused people to never look back. But look again; these ruby pearls of joy are insanely healthy for you…
Health Benefits of Beets
1. Lower your blood pressure. Beets contain nitrates which have been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure when consumed on a daily basis. Nitrates are converted to nitric acid in the body and help your vessels relax and dilate, reducing pressure and improving blood flow.
2. High in Inflammatory-Fighting Antioxidants Betaine, Quercetin & Resveratrol. Beets get their deep red hues from betaine, an antioxidant. Betaine is necessary for the completion of many metabolic pathways in the body and helps to protect cells and fight inflammation. Betaine has also been shown to protect internal organs and improve vascular risk factors. Quercetin and resveratrol are also antioxidants which, in combination, may serve as potent anti-cancer substances.
3. High in Folate. Folate (aka folic acid) is a B vitamin which helps prevent neural tube defects in newborns. It’s important to get adequate folate during the early weeks of pregnancy to prevent this. If you’re pregnant or trying, go eat your beets! Folate also works with Vitamin B12 to reduce inflammation.
4. Improve Performance. Not only do the nitrates in beets govern blood pressure, but they have also been shown to enhance endurance performance. One study concluded that eating a couple of medium sized beets at least 60 minutes before a run could help you shave at least half a minute off of your 5 km time! The method behind the madness? Nitrates are converted to nitric oxide in the body which reduces the oxygen cost of exercise by requiring your muscles to use less energy to produce the same amount of work.
Still not convinced? Try this hummus before you completely give up on the little guys. The beet flavor in this isn’t terribly strong so it may be a good starting point. Some other recipes that may be good palate primers for learning to love to beets are this Orange & Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and these Sweet Potato Beet Latkes. Maybe also try some pickled beets; they’re my favorite 🙂
Combine the following ingredients into a food processor or blender:
▪ 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
▪ 1 medium beet, boiled and skin peeled off
▪ 2 TBS tahini
▪ 3 TBS olive oil
▪ 1 small garlic clove, peeled
▪ juice of half lemon
▪ Salt and Pepper to taste
▪ zest of 1 orange