Beets: The Superfood That Can Help Keep Diabetes in Check
Compared to some other superfoods, beets don’t get a lot of love, especially from children. Many people just assume they won’t like them without really giving them a chance. But adults who give beets a try often find that they enjoy the natural, sweet flavor of this root vegetable. And not only do beets taste good, they also have a lot of health benefits.
If you are craving something sweet but healthy, beets are a great choice. Not only are they low in calories, they also contain no trans or saturated fat. Beets are high in carbohydrates, which can give you a boost of energy when you’re feeling rundown. They also contain folic acid, which helps to stimulate the production of new cells.
For diabetics, beets have many specific health benefits.
How Beets Can Benefit Diabetics
Antioxidants have gotten a lot of great press in recent years, and for good reason. Antioxidants help to fight free radicals, which can cause damage throughout the body. In fact, eating foods rich in antioxidants can drastically lower your risk of suffering from heart disease, nerve disease, and certain types of cancer.
Recent studies have found that a diet rich in antioxidants is also important for those suffering from diabetes. Not only does diabetes help to create more free radicals, but those with diabetes go through their antioxidant stores much faster than those without. So eating more antioxidant-rich foods, like beets, is key to a diabetic maintaining good health.
Lipoic acid, which can help to prevent the cell damage caused by aging, is one of the powerful antioxidant found in beets. Nerve damage causes many diabetics to experience numbness and pain in their hands and feet. And, according to several studies, lipoic acid can help to heal this nerve damage.
A study done by German scientists, and published by Diabetes Care Magazine, showed that alpha-lipoic acid aids in glucose control. In fact, alpha-lipoic acid was shown to significantly reduce fasting glucose levels. It can also help to fight insulin resistance.
Magnesium is another powerful antioxidant found in beets. Most people suffer from magnesium deficiency, meaning they don’t get nearly enough of this powerful nutrient in their diet. This is especially bad news for diabetics. Magnesium plays an essential role in the regulation of blood sugar. And magnesium deficiency can lead to insulin resistance, meaning more insulin is needed to maintain normal blood sugar levels. A magnesium deficiency can also contribute to some of the complications diabetics can experience as a result of their disease, like heart disease and high blood pressure. Luckily, eating beets can help you get more magnesium into your diet.
Another powerful antioxidant you will find in beets is vitamin C. A 1995 study showed that vitamin C improved the lipid levels and blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics. As with other antioxidants, the vitamin C levels of those with diabetes tend to be especially low, perhaps because high blood glucose levels hampers vitamin C uptake. So it is important for diabetes to eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C.
Cool Ways to Eat BeetsPeople are sometimes surprised by how many different ways there are to eat beets. But this superfood is surprisingly versatile. Beets can be grilled, baked, roasted or sautéed. You can buy canned beets, pickled beets, or fresh beets. Beets can be used in salads, soups, and stews. There are almost no limits to what can be done with this superfood.
To prepare fresh beets, simply rinse them in clean, running water for a few minutes. The skin of a beet is tough, and should be peeled off before you eat a beet, or prepare it for use as an ingredient.
If you want a fast, convenient and affordable way to enjoy beets, you can buy them canned. Compared to some other canned vegetables, canned beets are pretty inexpensive. And, if you want a quick snack, all you have to do is open a can of beets, pour them into a bowl, and enjoy.
Thanks to their beautiful rich color, beets make a great garnish. You can sprinkle shredded beets on top of savory dishes to add a little sweetness as well as visual appeal. Shredded beets can also be added to things like pancakes, muffins and breads. You can even add shredded beets to ice cream. Adding beets is a great way to give old favorites a new and interesting twist.
Borscht is a famous soup made with beets. Served chilled, this can be a great choice for hot summer days. Borscht also doesn’t require a lot of preparation time, which is ideal when you want to make a substantial meal without having to spend hours in a hot kitchen to make it.
Like potatoes, another root vegetable, beets can be fried. Beet chips are a great choice when you want something crunchy or sweet. And they are easy to make. Just slice them up and fry them in virgin coconut oil.
You can usually find fresh beets in the summer, fall and winter. When buying this super food whole, look for beets that look crisp and fresh. If a beet looks a little off, it’s probably not the one you want.
Fresh beets should have a deep, vibrant color, the leafy tops should be bright green, and the roots should be firm and smooth. They should also be firm to the touch. Avoid buying beets that have cuts, nicks, or other surface imperfections.
A good beet should be heavy for its size. So, when you pick it up, it should be a bit heavier than it looks like it should be. If you like your beets sweet and tender, go for the ones that are smaller in size. Larger beets can have a tough core and a starchy taste that you might not enjoy.
Due to their many benefits, beets are a healthy choice for anyone. And diabetics can benefit greatly from making this superfood a regular part of their diet.