March is National Nutrition Month! Dr. Bajuscak, your dentist in Portland, OR, knows that City Dental patients are already among the healthiest eaters out there– but everyone needs some good ideas now and then to switch things up. Looking for a new, fun, healthy food?
Look no further. For fun and delicious health– you can’t beat beets (sorry, they beg puns).
Beets and your smile
Yes, you may have a reddish smile for a minute (unless you’re indulging in a delicious golden beet), but this root has a lot to offer your dental health. Beets are high in Potassium, iron, and vitamins A,B and C, all essential to maintaining gum health. In fact, beet greens are one of the most nutrient dense whole foods on the planet!
In addition, beet betaine has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Betaine, a class of chemical first discovered from sugar beets, is an antioxidant that helps to protect your body from environmental stress, reduce inflammation, and improve vascular integrity. Since inflammation is the number one problem in periodontal disease, this is huge.
Beets and your brain
Betaine doesn’t just reduce inflammation, it also works on your brain. Betaine found in beets is an organic compound with another, bigger, name: Trimethylglycine (TMG). TMG has been used to treat non-specific depression because it can increase the neural substrates associated with positive emotions and depression relief.
Beets also contain trytophan, the amino acid found in Thanksgiving turkey and your favorite dark chocolate, which works on the brain to create a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. So if you’re feeling tense, don’t reach for the chocolate (or maybe do that too)– reach for a beet!
Beets and your body
In addition to making you feel good, beats can make you look good too. They’re associated with lowered blood pressure, which will help you out on that stairmaster! They also come packed with energy to sustain you during your workout.
For pregnant women, beets are a great source of Vitamin B to help keep their body healthy and strong while they grow a second one inside them. Beet greens are dense in folate, which helps the body utilize that Vitamin B.
So how to enjoy this powerhouse of a vegetable?
Many of us grew up being forced to eat boiled beets, so we understandably have a bad taste in our mouth for this amazing food. With a closer look at beet’s phenomenal nutritive properties, however, is a revitalized menu of beet foods: check out some mouth watering recipes here.
Or follow this great NPR story for a few easy ways to incorporate beets into your diet.