You may have heard that to eat a balanced diet is to eat the rainbow, and red is no exception! The deep, gorgeous color of beets not only adds a beautiful splash of color to your meal, it also is an indication of the roots' vitamin, mineral, and dietary nitrate content needed to support immune functions for postpartum recovery.
Today we'll dive into how beets can help nourish and fuel your body after birth:
- Fight inflammation
- Regulate blood pressure
- Improve endurance and energy levels
- Aid in digestive health
- Are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals
At Ritual Meals, we use beets in our Lactation-Boosting Creamy Beet Soup with Pumpkin Seeds.
The beetroot’s bright, rich color is thanks to pigments called betalains, a phytonutrient. Phytonutrients are chemicals produced by plants to help them resist fungi, bacteria, and plant virus infections. This is what gives them antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties needed to support immune functions to aid the postpartum recovery.
An article from Healthline illustrates the powerful effect of beets on our bodies. Due to their high concentration of dietary nitrates, consumption of raw beet juice can lower blood pressure by up to 4-10 mmHg within just a few hours. Within our bodies, dietary nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator. This means that it dilates the blood vessels, increases blood flow, and therefore lowers blood pressure. It is recommended to regularly consume dietary nitrates in order to achieve long-term reductions in blood pressure.
The dietary nitrates from beets not only dilate your arteries, but they can increase your body's efficiency in using oxygen. In one study of cyclists, the group that consumed beet juice was able to perform just as well as the placebo group, while consuming 19% less oxygen. That group also exercised greater endurance when cycling at a higher intensity than the placebo group. Especially after birth, giving your body a helping hand in its day-to-day functions is extremely important. The more energy-efficient your body is for when you're dashing around the house, the more it can focus on healing from the inside out. Dietary nitrates and betalains are best retained in raw beets, however eating cooked beets definitely still has many benefits, namely fiber and digestive health.
One cup of beetroot contains 3.4 grams of fiber. A healthy intake of dietary fiber is important in keeping your gut regular, which can prevent digestive conditions like constipation and inflammatory bowel diseases. Fiber has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as colon cancer, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
Beetroots are a great source of many essential vitamins and minerals:
Folate (vitamin B9): One of the B vitamins, folate is important for normal tissue growth and cell function. View our other B Vitamins Booster Meals
Manganese: Manganese contributes to many bodily functions, including the metabolism of amino acids, cholesterol, glucose, and carbohydrates. It also plays a role in bone formation, blood clotting, and reducing inflammation.
Potassium: Potassium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. A high-potassium diet may help reduce blood pressure and water retention.
Iron: An essential mineral, iron has many important functions in your body such as regulating water temperature, supporting the immune system, and providing oxygen to red blood cells. View our other iron-rich postpartum meals
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant that protects against immune system deficiencies, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.
The magic of beets is that they can be enjoyed baked, pickled, boiled, blended, juiced, and roasted! Check out some of our favorite beet recipes:
- Roasted Beet Hummus by Minimalist Baker
- Beets with Pecorino, Pecans, and Shishito Peppers by Bonappetit
- Refrigerator Pickled Beets by Bellyfull
No time to bake and cook? No worries. At Ritual Meals, we got you Mama! Let us help you beet your postpartum recovery with The Postpartum Meal Program. We'll be sure to add in one of our favorites, The Warming Beet Ginger Coconut Soup which uses every part of the beet, root and stem, and is blended with antioxidant-rich and warming spices. Coconut milk and cashews supply a boost of healthy fats and calcium. Book ahead.