Nobody Beats Beets!
I know you understand me when I say that I can easily plow through a bag of chips when stressed out at work! There is something about that salty crunchiness that just helps you push through the pages. As a Naturopathic Physician on my own personal everlasting journey towards health, I realize that eating chips just doesn’t feel right.
So the only solution I can think of is to come up with a fantastic replacement for this obsession. Enter: Beet Chips. Beets are one of my favorite root vegetables due to their beautiful blood-red color, incredibly high nutritional value, and delicious (and I mean DELICIOUS) flavor. These sweet tasting powerhouses are so good for you, I don’t even know where to start.
Well, let’s start with the obvious – their color. In general, foods that are very bright and/or deep in color are full of nutrition. The special phytonutrients in beets that give them their beautiful pigment are called “betalains.” These betalains found quite high in beets are very important for liver detoxification. The liver uses two phases of detoxification to eliminate toxins (including estrogen) from the body. The phytonutrients in beets are especially helpful in stimulating phase 2 detox. What this means is that beets support your liver! They help you metabolize all kinds of junk out of your body. Really, who can’t use some liver help?? Also, beets are high in antioxidants, which is no surprise given their deep color. This is another way that beets help your body clear itself of disease-promoting junk (aka OXIDANTS). Lastly, beets may have some anti-inflammatory ability due to inhibition of the COX enzyme which is the enzyme used to make pro-inflammatory prostaglandins.
Unfortunately, long cooking times can reduce the amount of betalains in the beets. In order to get the full health punch, gentle steaming or raw ingestion of beets may be the best method of cooking. But, these beet chips cook up so fast, I still think they have great health benefits. In terms of nutrition, beets provide a good amount of folic acid.
Some may say that beets are “high in sugar,” but it is always important to look at the glycemic load of foods. While beets may have a higher sugar content, they have a glycemic load of only 5. This means that the sugar is absorbed in a very slow, steady manner due to the fiber content of the beet. It is important to eat the beet in its whole form, rather than just juicing it, for example. Juicing a beet takes away the fiber and leaves you with only the high sugar juice.
Ok, enough of my health babble. Here is my recipe for delicious beet chips. These guys are fast, convenient, healthy, and delicious study snacks. Enjoy!!
2 large beets, uncooked sliced very thin (I used pre-cooked packaged beets from Trader Joe’s for convenience, but you can use uncooked beets – leave the peel on and slice raw)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
If you use fresh beets, slice them very thin with a mandolin slicer, unpeeled.
If you use pre-cooked beets, you can try slicing them thin with a paring knife or mandolin slicer
Coat the slices with olive oil (or coconut oil)
Spread on a cookie sheet in one layer
Bake 20 minutes or until crispy. You can flip them halfway through if you’d like an even crunch.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with sea salt and EAT!