Happy Monday! I’m coming in hot with a new smoothie recipe, and a little chat on the amazing root vegetable: the beet!
I adore the vibrant pink that beets add to a smoothie, not to mention the nutritional benefits of the fiber and antioxidants (via the phytonutrients betalain and beta-carotene). Beets are also rich in folate (very important for pre-pregnancy), manganese, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and magnesium.
I know, there’s a lot of nutrient name dropping happening, and you’re probably wondering, so what? Betalains are bioactive pigments that have been shown to possess antioxidant properties . In other words, studies have shown that betalains protect cells from oxidative injury (cell damage.) Betalains also possess anti-inflammatory capabilities, because they can interfere with pro-inflammatory signaling cascades. The most notable is the Nuclear Factor-Kappa B (NF-κB) cascade, which is responsible for activating and transcribing the gene targets that amplify the inflammatory response (i.e., cytokines, chemokines, apoptotic, and phagocytic cells) . And finally, betalains give beets that beautiful, rich, dark pink color that we all love.
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid and a precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, skin, teeth and bones. It plays a role in helping the body fight off infections, and also acts as an antioxidant to protect cells.
Have I convinced you yet? 🙂 Beets are a very earthy vegetable and taste a lot like…well, dirt. BUT (!) the good news is that beets are an acquired taste, and adding lemon juice to any beet dish can definitely subdue the earthy flavor.
My favorite part about this smoothie is that it is made with no added sugar, it’s full of fiber, and it tastes pretty darn good. Plus, THAT COLOR. Oh my gosh, that color. Perfect for the upcoming holiday 😉