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"Magic Diet"
byline: Rachel Madorsky

At my parents' house - second to potatoes - red beets were always one of the main vegetables at meals. During my youth, I did not pay any attention to their medicinal quality. Beets only became part of my diet after I have learned about their healing benefits. The Oncology/Hematology Department of the local hospital used beets as an active ingredient in their patient meals because of their miraculous qualities. Many of my patients have asked for specific diets, which reminded me of this wonder vegetable. 

The medicinal value of beets was used by such well-known doctors of the distant past as Avicenna, Hypocrite, Galen and Paracelsus. Doctors of Ancient Greece used beet juice to cure fevers, anemia, and diseases of the digestive and lymphatic systems. 

The root of the beet contains a large amount of sugar, a small amount of fiber, fat, a large amount of cellulose, pectin, organic, pantothenic and folic acids, many vitamins, various microelements (iron, iodine, calcium, potassium, cobalt, magnesium, manganese, copper, fluorine and zinc), pigments and many other substances. 

A beet surpasses many vegetables because it contains amino acids and mineral substances. The beets have a gamma-amino acid, which plays an important role in metabolism. 

The use of beets for medicinal purposes has been proven by scientific study. Research from the last decade validated the curative properties of dark-colored red beets. 

Betaine and betanin - an albuminous, alkaloid-like substance in the red beet - improve the digestion of food and help to create choline, the substance that increases cell activity in the liver, strengthens the walls of capillaries, decreases cholesterol in the blood and improves the metabolism of fat. Choline readily forms salts, several of which have been used in medicine as lipotropic agents in the treatment of fatty degeneration and hepatic cirrhosis. 

As indigestible cellulose, pectin and organic acid contained in the beet travel through the digestive system, they absorb and remove from the body poisonous substances of microbic origin, salts of heavy metals, radioactive isotopes and cholesterol deposits. In addition, these substances in the beets strengthen peristalsis, promotes active secretion of digestive juices and bile. Red beets also promote wound-healing, act as a diuretic, anesthesia, laxative, or anti-inflammatory. Red beets also aid in the lowering of blood pressure. 

For medicinal purposes, it is best to use the root of the beet, its juices and its leaves. In case of illnesses of the liver, constipation, digestion, obesity and hypertension, it is recommended to eat 100-150 g. of cooked beets on an empty stomach. One or two tablespoons of beet juice also can be taken before meals. Better effects are achieved when beet juice is diluted with water and other juices. The regular consumption of beet juice rejuvenates the skin. Juice from raw beets or freshly grated beets is richer in vitamins and minerals than juice made from cooked beets. However, cooked beets or cooked beet juice is better for digestion problems. Hungarian physicians recommend drinking beet juice in dozes not more than 100 ml. daily. During my trip to Turkey, I noticed that local residents drink beet juice after they consume meat. 



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