Beet greens are the green leaves connected to beets. Like all parts of these vegetables, these leaves are edible and in fact quite nutritious. Beets are commonly found in grocery stores in canned form but they can also be purchased fresh and whole when you shop at farmers' markets. Read on to learn more about the different health benefits of beet greens.
1. Rich in Vitamin K
Beet greens have been found to contain large amounts of vitamin K. As you probably know, vitamin K is an important element that aids in blood clotting. However, studies are showing that the health benefits of vitamin K extend beyond its blood clotting properties. For instance, there is now a possibility that vitamin K might play a role in fighting diseases that afflict the elderly, such as Alzheimer's disease. If you suffer from osteoporosis or would like to minimize your chance of developing this disease then you should also make vitamin K a part of your diet. This is because vitamin K works alongside calcium to boost the strength in your bones. If you suffer from pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness then this vitamin can also provide some relief. Since it has blood clotting properties, you can also consume vitamin K if you experience excessive bleeding during your monthly period.
2. Improves Vision
Vitamin A is another vitamin that can be found in large amounts in beet greens. Vitamin A brings a wide range of health benefits to the body. One of these benefits is the maintenance of good vision. A compound in vitamin A is essential in the retina's transformation of light. This is why individuals who are at risk of developing night blindness are advised to take vitamin A.
3. Boosts Immune System Against Infections and Cancer
Another health benefit of vitamin A is that it strengthens your immune system. This vitamin stimulates antibodies and white blood cells so you are better protected against infections. Studies have also shown that vitamin A can play a role in cancer prevention. In fact, if you regularly consume vitamin A-rich plants like beet greens, you are at less risk of developing cancer than if you get your vitamin A from animal products. If you're pregnant, vitamin A also helps in embryonic development. A vitamin A compound, beta-carotene, is also a known antioxidant that can fight the effects of free radicals in the body. Aside from causing signs of aging, free radicals also contribute to cancer and heart disease.
Preparing Beet Greens
The next time you buy some fresh beets, remember not to throw the green leaves away. Beet greens make a great side dish or a main meal on their own. Start by washing the beet greens twice using cold water. Drain the greens and remove any large stems. Chop the greens into small, bite-sized pieces. In a separate skillet or saucepan, cook a strip of bacon until it is lightly brown. Add onion and garlic. Add some water, red pepper and sugar. Wait for the mixture to boil before adding the bite-sized beet greens. Stir well so that the mixture coats the greens. Cook until beet greens are tender then add some vinegar.