The beet is a root vegetable that deserves a little more love — it’s delicious steamed or chopped up raw in a salad. We usually cook with the vibrant red colored flesh and toss away the stems and leaves, but the greens actually offer some amazing perks for your blood and liver health — and taste pretty good, too!
When buying fresh beets, you end up tossing so much good stuff if you only use the bulb. Raw beet greens can be tossed into a smoothie or in a salad, or you can steam or sautée them for a yummy side dish any night of the week. Just simple chop them off the beet, rinse under warm water, and store in a plastic container for up to two weeks in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. Whichever way you prepare them, the mildly sweet and earthy flavor is a true complement to all their health benefits.
This part of the beet is the richest source of its nutrients. Research published in Nutrition & Metabolism revealed that beet stems and leaves contain more inorganic nitrate (NO3) than the root and bulb. This was shown to have a significant effect for lowering blood pressure, which reduced the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and kidney failure.
Eating beet greens regularly can also help you avoid liver damage. A study published in Nutrients noted that beet stems and leaves contain flavonoids like quercetin and rutin. These nutritional compounds were shown to prevent oxidative stress in the liver, which might otherwise lead to inflammation and fatty liver disease.
Making these greens a staple part of your diet could also work to prevent anemia, which is when there’s not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body’s tissue. As a result, bothersome symptoms like fatigue and dizziness can occur. Research published in Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research highlighted that beet leaves contain flavonoid and phenolic compounds that have hematinic properties to stabilize iron levels. Having an iron deficiency can lead to anemia, but eating a nutrient-rich food like beet greens might help you avoid that as time goes on.
I think we can all agree that the leaves and stems of fresh beets are too good to pass up thanks to their wide ranging health benefits and versatility in recipes!