Give Me A BEET!
Beets, the underrated rockstar root vegetable is one of the headliners next week on our Fit Kitchen Direct menu! All month long, we’re teaming up with Crisp, one of our favorite spots to pick-up a healthy and delicious chopped salad located in NW Portland. At this point, we’re getting close to being halfway through June which means you only have two more weeks to get your order in and try out one of Crisp’s signature salads with a little Fit Kitchen flare. On next week’s menu, we’re featuring the Beet Poke YUM! Salad with chicken, or tofu if you order our vegan meals. Crisp had the unique idea of taking a classic Hawaiian dish made from raw fish (usually ahi tuna or salmon) called poke and transforming it into a plant-based delight using beets instead! Our beet poke is made using golden beets that are marinated in sesame oil, green onions, ginger, and coconut aminos providing that perfect umami paradise bite. We then serve the poke on a crisp (no pun intended) salad of red and Napa cabbage, carrots, and kale topped off with peanuts for some added crunch and served with a pungently delicious wasabi-ginger dressing. The salad says it right there in the name, YUM!
Beyond just being the perfect plant-based substitute for poke, beets are also a nutrition powerhouse! Beets contain a family of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification compounds called betalains. The red beets are more highly concentrated in the phytonutrient betacyanins giving them their vibrant red-violet color, while the golden beets contain more betaxanthins providing their beautiful yellow-orange color. These powerful antioxidants have been found to reverse the effects of free radical damage and oxidative stress within the body. While both beet varieties provide similar phytonutrient properties and healing benefits, the golden beets that we’re highlighting in our beet poke pack an extra punch of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. But it doesn’t stop there, beets have some amazing health benefits! Red and golden alike, beets may help lower blood pressure because they contain nitrates which are converted into nitric oxide, which helps to relax and dilate our blood vessels, thus improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. In addition, beets are considered anti-inflammatory due to their high concentration of betaine. This amino acid is used to convert homocysteine in the blood to methionine. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is naturally produced by the body and something you want to prevent the unwanted build-up of. Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with inflammation and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, so it’s a good thing betaine can help! As for detoxification, betalains have repeatedly been shown to support our body’s Phase II detoxification process (check out last week’s post for more information on detoxification if you missed it!). Betalains work to decrease oxidative stress and aid in detoxification in our bodies by breaking down toxins so they can be excreted from our body. Last, but certainly not least, beets are a good source of fiber containing approximately 12% of your daily recommended intake in as little as 1 cup. Beet fiber, along with the specific type of fiber found in carrots, is thought to provide special health benefits, particularly with respect to the health of our digestive tract (including prevention of colon cancer) and our cardiovascular system.
As if the benefits of beets alone didn’t already convince you to get your order in, let’s review some of the other nutritional boosts in the Beet Poke YUM! Salad. The red and Napa cabbage contain a variety of antioxidant compounds that may help prevent type 2 diabetes and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. In addition, the anthocyanin antioxidants found in red cabbage that give it a red-purple color, lend to the cardiovascular benefits of this cruciferous vegetable. Carrots add more than just a pop of orange color in our salad providing ample amounts of vitamins C, D, E and K, as well as many minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium.Most widely recognized for their carotenoid antioxidants and benefits for eye health, carrots may also decrease the risk for heart disease and stroke, protect against cancer, boost skin health and wound healing, and protect brain health and cognitive function. Kale, the trendy superfood and for good reasons, is also found in this salad! Rich in vitamins K, A and C, along with other vital nutrients and phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and glucosinolates; the health benefits of kale include detoxification, heart support, cancer prevention, and eye health. Don’t skip on the peanuts either, your heart will go nuts for the healthy monounsaturated fats they contain! Lastly, ginger is the ultimate trifecta being anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and acting as a powerful antioxidant due to its therapeutic compounds gingerol, shogaol, paradol and zingerone.
Chomping down on the Beet Poke YUM! Salad from Crisp will leave your tastebuds happy, your tummy satisfied, and your body glowing from all of the amazing nutritional boosts this salad packs. Make sure to get your order in by Thursday, June 17th, so you don’t miss out on the third mouthwatering salad from Crisp and don’t forget to tag us on instagram @fitkitchendirect with you lunch and dinner FKD spreads! Keep your eye out next week to find out the last Crisp salad we’ll be featuring this month!
Melanie Matta, MScN