Are you eating beets on a regular basis? If not, you are missing a lot of important nutrients that only beets and few other vegetables have.
Beets are abundant in polyphenols and betalains, important antioxidants which prevent heart disease, certain cancers, and birth defects. Beets are excellent sources of betaine, which supports liver cell function and helps the body flush out toxins properly. Interestingly, you can even take this already amazing vegetable and turn it into a superfood with pickling.
Health benefits of raw beets:
- Beets boost the immune system
- Beets lower the blood pressure
- Beets have anti-cancer properties
- Beets are a great detox for your body
- Beets have anti-inflammatory properties
- Beets increase your strength
Health benefits of fermented beets
Fermenting your beets rather than eating them raw gives you all the health-boosting benefits of raw beets, which are made even more bioavailable through fermentation, plus the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that result from fermentation.
Fermented foods are just regular vegetables placed in a brine of salt and water for a period of time at room temperature in order to let the beneficial bacteria develop. You can ferment any vegetable and it will yield high amounts of probiotics, mostly the Lactobacilli type.
This type of bacteria creates lactic acid. Lactic acid protects the fermented food from being invaded by pathogenic bacteria. The live organisms are naturally acid resistant and are able to repopulate beneficial organisms in your gut as you ingest these foods.
Besides fermented beets and beet-infused sauerkraut, fermented beet juice, known as beet kvass is rising in popularity in the West. Beet kvass has a long tradition of use in Russia, Ukraine, and other eastern European countries, where it’s consumed therapeutically as a general health tonic.
Traditionally, beet kvass has been used to boost immune function, cleanse the blood, combat fatigue and treat kidney stones, chemical sensitivities, allergies and digestive problems. Anecdotal reports suggest beet kvass may even improve the appearance of age spots, thicken hair and minimize graying of hair.
Because of its detoxifying properties, avoid drinking too much when first starting out. Doing so could result in an overload of released toxins, producing bloating, constipation and/or cold or flu symptoms.
As a general recommendation, start out with 1 ounce per day, gradually increasing the amount to an 8-ounce glass per day. If you’re highly toxic, you may need to start out with as little as a tablespoon.
How to make naturally fermented pickled beets
- 6 medium beets
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups filtered water
- Wash and dry the beets.
- Poke the beets in several places, place on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for about 3 hours or until soft.
- Peel off the skin and chop into julienne type slices.
- Pack beets firmly into a very clean wide-mouth quart-sized canning jar.
- Make a brine of sea salt dissolved in water.
- Pour the brine over the beets until the liquid is 1 1/2 inches from the top of the jar. The beets need to be submerged in brine.
- Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.