Why your liver loves beets

A big part of living a healthy lifestyle is incorporating “detox” foods and habits into your daily routines.  We all know that eating a variety of fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds will provide you with lots of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. But did you know that certain foods are particularly effective in stimulating your liver’s powers of elimination?  Optimal detoxification requires nutritional support to ensure the liver’s enzymatic activities function properly.

If your system is overwhelmed by an excess toxic load or if your liver isn’t working at full capacity then toxic substances circulating in your blood stream can be re-absorbed into fat stores and body tissues.  End result:  low energy, headaches, inability to lose weight, skin blemishes and in the long run, chronic disease.

Beets are one of those foods often considered a “superfood” because their nutritional value goes way beyond what you might expect for its caloric value.  Not only are beets nutritious and delicious, they’re in season right now so it’s the perfect time to grab a bunch and enjoy this liver loving salad.

Here are some of the top benefits of this fabulous veggie:

  • Betacyanin - from the family of betalains, this is the powerful cancer-fighting phytonutrient that gives beets their distinctive red pigment. This property gives beets anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and liver stimulating powers. Betalains also trigger Phase II detoxification in your liver (which is an important step in the cellular elimination of fat soluble toxins)
  • Betaine - beets are the richest source of this compound which aids in the flow of bile (also essential to the excretion of toxins) and helps in cleansing your blood
  • Fibre - 1 cup of beets contains an amazing 15 grams of fibre! Fibre from beets has been linked to digestive as well as cardiovascular health.  It keeps your system moving and helps keep LDL cholesterol down.
  • Supports antioxidant enzymes - glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase provide protection from free radicals and are key to neutralizing and excreting toxins from your liver.  Pigments found in beets have been shown to stimulate the activity of these important enzymes.
  • Rich source of antioxidants and minerals - beets are an excellent source of Vitamin C, manganese and carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) as well as folic acid and potassium

So many reasons to love beets! This salad recipe has so many cleansing ingredients: cruciferous vegetables (cabbage and arugula), beets, lemon juice and parsley.  Makes a great lunch and tastes even better the next day.

Cabbage Beet Salad

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive or flax oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp tamari
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Salad ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (I like Napa)
  • 1 medium beet, grated or thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded arugula
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup sliced fresh fennel
  • 3-4 green onions
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

Place cabbage, beets, arugula, parsley, fennel and green onions in a large bowl.  Add dressing to taste and toss well.  Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top.

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