© Epantha | Dreamstime.com - Cooked Beets PhotoI have a naughty list of all the foods I do not like. It is a bit ironic that that I always seem to dislike so many super nutritious foods. I don’t like legumes, beets, cumin, rapini, dandelion and even honey can be off-putting to me sometimes.  And please, do not get me started on foods like chlorella, spirulina and wheatgrass but neither I nor the research can deny their benefits. Maybe it is all the beet kvass I consumed last winter and spring but I do not hate beets so much anymore. How can I tell? I certainly don’t crave them or think about eating them. However, I also no longer screw up my face and say “yuck” when someone says the word “beet”. So beets are officially off the naughty list.

The key to eating any food that may not make your heart soar is to find a recipe where the food works for you. The beet kvass worked for me because it is a beverage where the fermented beet leaches juice into the water. It dilutes the “beetiness” of the red beets which is the part I do not like. I have always liked, but not loved, yellow beets as they are also less “beety.

Did you know that beets and Swiss chard are from the same family? Both contain two types of a phytonutrient called betalains. Betacyanins  are red betalains and therefore are primarily found red Swiss chard and red beets.  Betaxanthins are yellow in colour and are found primarily in yellow Swiss chard and yellow beets.  I don’t like Swiss chard either, although to be honest, I can tolerate it now…maybe…if it were wrapped in pastry. Maybe it is betalains I do not like. Hmmm…

I cannot, however,  deny their amazing benefits. Betalains are both antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. This means they will help protect the body from free-radical damage and chronic inflammation – two factors that have been link to heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The chemical betaine , also found in beets, helps improve muscle strength, and contains anti-stress properties that may help fight depression. Beets contain the essential amino acid tryptophan which converts to serotonin, the anti-depression neurotransmitter and can help relax the mind and promote better sleep. Beets are also helpful with Phase II of liver detoxification, the process of making toxins water-soluble so the body can excrete them.

And don’t forget the beet greens which are hgh in lutein and other carotenoids  as well minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium,  and boron, which may help prevent osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and support the immune system.

No bad for one food. So I guess I am just going to have to move beyond beet kvass to find other ways to enjoy beets, especially if they are off the naughty list. How about in a chocolate cake? Yes, this works, believe it or not. How about roasting the beets with garlic, onions and olive oil? This sounds good, too. If the beets were fermented first, then roasted, they would be even more beneficial as the betalains and other nutrients would be more bioavailable. If roasting is not your thing, try juicing them or add the beets to a smoothie. I wouldn’t like this but you might. Fermenting the beets would be helpful before adding them to any recipe. It really is not hard to find new ways to dress up the foods that are not your favourites so you can enjoy their health benefits.

So what health food is on your naughty list? Are you ready to move it off the list? Can you imagine a way you might like it better? If so, go for it.

Here is a great recipe that I like as it contains many foods I really like and beets. It is a make great first course for any special occasion meal. It is also a perfect winter salad, combining warm and cool together, and loaded with other tasty nutrient-rich foods.

Roasted Beet, Fig and Cheese Salad with Pomegranate Dressing



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