There’s no doubt that fresh is always better. However, fresh fruits and vegetables may not always be available to people and not on a daily basis. This is why pickling was developed in the first place—to be able to preserve the freshness of food for later consumption. Pickling also helps to retain most of the nutritional value of various types of fruits and vegetables. While other added content, such as sodium, are typically high in pickled foods, there’s no doubt that pickling has its own benefits. Some of the most nutritious vegetables out there are pickled beets, and they might even be just as good as fresh ones.
The beetroot, or as known in North America as beet, is the edible taproot portion of the plant by the same name. There are several different beet varieties, and some of the more common ones include the red beet and golden beet. The leaves of the beet plant are also edible. Beets have been used throughout history for other purposes besides for food. They make good dyes and food coloring, and they have also been used for alternative medicinal uses. The freshest beets are typically pickled right after harvesting, so they don’t particularly lose their health benefits in the process.
Nutritional content of beets
A whole cup serving of pickled beets can provide you with a few of your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. Pickled beets are rich in both folate and iron. Adequate amounts of folate are essential in pregnant women in birth defect prevention, and iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Pickled beets also contain high amounts of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, and C among others. These vitamins and minerals all play important roles in keeping the body in optimal shape, and pickled beets help provide a good percentage of all of them in just one serving.
Weight loss benefits
Pickled beets happen to be a low calorie vegetable. Healthy consumption of pickled beets will not be detrimental to someone who counts calories daily. They are also rich in both protein and fiber. Protein helps in maintaining muscle mass and keeping the body lean. Fiber, on the other hand, is essential in regulating the body’s digestive system. Fiber helps keep the stomach feel full longer, so there will be less chances of unregulated snacking when you eat pickled beets regularly. A fiber-rich diet can also help lower your risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.
There are many ways that pickled beets can help the entire body get rid of toxic wastes. Pickled beets have been known to help regulate liver function. The liver organ functions to break down and ultimately detoxify substances in the body, and pickled beets act as catalysts for this purpose. They also help cleanse the blood while creating more red blood cells, which are the main oxygen delivery system of the body. Because of this function, pickled beets can prevent and even cure anemia as well.
Mental health benefits
For one, pickled beets contain a good amount of tryptophan. This helps keep the body relaxed and calm, much like if you had just had a warm glass of milk. Betaine, a substance that is typically used in depression medication, can be found abundantly in pickled beets. These vegetables can help in creating a better overall sense of wellbeing in a person.
Pickled beets have been known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They are a good source of betalains, a phytonutrient that happens to be an effective antioxidant. Pickled beets can also help lower blood pressure, which is not only important in overall health but also in maintaining the elasticity of various blood vessels. Pickled beets may also help in the treatment of macular degeneration, since it contains both lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that exist abundantly in a healthy eye. Some studies have also claimed that pickled beets may have anti-cancer properties. The same phytonutrients that give red beets their color have shown to also reduce tumor formations in some research. Also, since beets are naturally high in sugar, they can provide you with a steady burst of energy that will not cause an immediate crash.
How to eat pickled beets
There are many ways pickled beets can be incorporated into a diet. They can be great as a raw addition to any type of salad or can be served plainly as a side. Pickled beets can also be used as an ingredient in soup or even as the main flavoring for a base. There are popular cultural dishes that use beets as a main ingredient, and pickled beets may be used if fresh ones are not available or to alter the desired taste altogether. Another way to incorporate pickled beets into a diet is by using pickled beet juice to pickle other types of food such as eggs. Pickled eggs with beets are popular in some cultures and can be served as a snack or side dish.
While fresh vegetables may not always be available to eat, it shouldn’t be a reason not too. Pickled vegetables can give just as much nutrients and benefits like their fresh counterparts. Pickled beets can give a surge of goodness, and regular intake of beets can benefit the body in so many ways. While pickling has downfalls such as high sodium content, there are also pickled beet alternatives that use vinegar instead of brine. However, ingesting too much vinegar in itself can pose some dangers as well such as gastrointestinal issues, damage to teeth, and even negative medication interactions. Although consuming pickled foods can have some risks as well, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. As long as pickled beets are eaten properly and in moderation, you can enjoy its benefits without worrying too much about any unhealthy side effects.
Hobbs, D. A.; Kaffa, N.; George, T. W.; Methven, L.; Lovegrove, J. A. (2012). “Blood pressure-lowering effects of beetroot juice and novel beetroot-enriched bread products in normotensive male subjects”. British Journal of Nutrition. 108 (11): 2066–2074.
Siervo, M.; Lara, J.; Ogbonmwan, I.; Mathers, J. C. (2013). “Inorganic Nitrate and Beetroot Juice Supplementation Reduces Blood Pressure in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”. Journal of Nutrition. 143 (6): 818–826.