October is a great time of year to cleanse your liver and your blood after the long, hot Pitta summer. Ayurveda recommends cleansing this time of year to restore a sense of calm to the system and prepare for optimal health during the Fall and Winter seasons. Beets are one of the best foods for detoxing, among numerous other benefits.
The liver is the busiest internal janitor we have. Every minute around three pints of blood pass through it. From this blood, the liver extracts nutrients, oxygen, toxins, carcinogens and other wastes, which it either stores or breaks down into substances that can be assimilated or eliminated from the body. If the liver is asked to filter out too many toxins and wastes, the body can become overwhelmed. When this happens, the body will not function optimally, and will attempt to remove toxins and pent up emotions in other less acceptable ways like skin irritations, heated emotions, burning sensations throughout the body, diarrhea, flu symptoms and fatigue.
Beets are a high-antioxidant vegetable that contains a number of important substances, including: betaine, betalains, fiber, iron, betacyanin, folate, and betanin. Betaine is the substance that encourages the liver cells to get rid of toxins. Additionally, betaine acts to defend the liver and bile ducts, which are important if the liver is to function properly. This particular substance is also said by some to decrease the risk of coronary and cerebral artery diseases, as it lowers inflammation in the body, allowing the many systems to work without interruption. Pectin, which is a fiber found in beets, helps clean the toxins that have been removed from the liver, allowing them to be flushed out of the system instead of reabsorbed by the body. Because of this property, many medical professionals encourage individuals to eat beets raw, so that these fibers can be ingested as completely as possible.
Additionally, according to NaturalNews.com, “beets have been linked to the healing of the liver, a decrease in homocysteine, an improvement in stomach acid production, prevention of the formation of free-radicals in LDL, and the prevention of lung, liver, skin, spleen, and colon cancer. Though these health benefits are not directly linked to the detoxification of the liver, they allow the body as a whole to work more efficiently. Because the systems of the body are all intertwined and rely upon one another to work properly, this indirectly affects the ability of the liver to rid itself of toxins and continue to work at an optimal level.”
More Reasons to Eat Beets
As if all of these factors weren’t enough of a reason to consume beets on a regular basis, consider the following additional benefits of this blood-red root.
- It was used by the ancient Romans as an aphrodisiac, and modern science backs this up. You see, beets contain high levels of boron, which help produce and balance human sex hormones.
- As previously noted, beets are high in numerous nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, Vitamins A, B and C, beta-carotene, beta-cyanine and folic acid, and there is some evidence that they help the body absorb Vitamin D better.
- They support mental health. Beets contain betaine, which is used as a treatment for depression, and the natural relaxant, tryptophan, which may help reduce blood pressure levels.
- Want a fun way to test your stomach acid levels? Eat some beets. If you urine turns pink, you are balanced. If your urine is still clear, eat more beets, including the leaves, to get acid levels back in balance.
- Beets are a high source of sustained energy. While high in sugar, they are also high in fiber and low in calories, so the sugar is released gradually into your system.
How to Eat Beets
Beets, according to Ayurveda, are sweet, slightly warm and sweet after being digested. They are best eaten by those with lots of Vata in them during the Vata season of the year (Fall/Early Winter). They can increase Kapha and Pitta in the body when consumed in excess, one of the reasons most people eat them during the Vata season. Beet juice has stronger medicinal properties, but it can aggravate the doshas more, so be careful with over-juicing. Beet greens have many similar properties to spinach and should be eaten in the same fashion depending upon your doshic balance and the time of year. Both the greens and the beet roots are great blood cleansers for the body.
If you are interested in adding more beets to your diet this fall and winter, here’s an easy way to get started, compliments of Body, Mind, Detox. Try starting the day with 8 oz. of beet juice mixed with cucumber, celery, lemon, and apple or ginger for an extra helping of zinc. This is particularly supportive if you have a lot of Vata in your constitution.
Since you don’t want to juice everyday though, here’s 10 other ways to eat beets from mindbodygreen.
And if you are interested in doing a full Ayurvedic liver cleanse for fall, with or without beets, contact Karen Callahan at 818-808-7288, and Positively Ayurvedic will help get you on the road back to health.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have an acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or email Karen Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org.