a special feature from Debra Orringer, Health Coach*

You know how they say your mother is always right?   Well, how about the fact your grandmother is even more right!!!

I remember as a little girl, sitting at the dinner table watching my grandparents down a big bowl of borscht with a big smile and telling me all the attributes of this magic vegetable that could make us live forever. I certainly poo-poo’d it as just old people talking, but boy did they live a healthy life well into their ‘90’s. At the time there was nothing they could do to make me get past one little sip of that super sour red concoction. I’d gag and excuse myself from the dinner table.  My grandmother professed that beets were their ‘kryptonite,’ and healthy eating was a very important part of their lifestyle. And, it’s interesting because she was certain that Superman ate beets as well – I thought this story she told was because she was just trying to connect with my brother and me at the dinner table! Or, maybe she did know something special about feeling like Superman: giving respect to beets!

When you look at the lists of the popular super foods, beets rarely make the list, but it’s about time they did.  Beets are a literal gold mine of essential nutrients that you may not get from other foods.  Your B vitamins for example, which are converted into fuel in the body and keep you energized throughout the day, are loaded in the beet, as are iron, magnesium, copper and potassium.

While there are a ton of benefits from this incredible root vegetable, here are my top three reasons that you can’t beat beets for your health. Most importantly, there are so many ways to enjoy them (see recipe below).

  • Beets are loaded with nitrates, which the body utilizes as nitric oxide and helps to dilate your blood vessels – ergo enhancing circulation to help lower blood pressure and even chances of heart disease.
  • Because nitric oxide helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, blood flow to the brain is increased and that can bring about better brain function.  This is particularly helpful as we age because research shows that our capacity to produce nitric oxide as we age decreases.  So eat your beets and do your crosswords.
  • Beets are loaded with antioxidants which are known to help fight inflammation, and chronic inflammation in your body can lead to other diseases like cancer.

Beets really have the super power my grandparents told me they had.  So who knows, if we incorporate beets into a healthy diet, maybe we will live like Superman too!

Here’s a simple and delicious recipe for Roasted Beets I’d like to share:

  • 6-7 medium sized beets (try to shoot for the same size so they’ll cook for the same amount of time)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • EVOO – Extra virgin olive oil
  • Preheat an oven to 400 degrees
  • Place the beets into a baking dish with an inch of water and pop into the oven for 45 min – an hour – the fork should come out easily when done
  • Once the beets cool to the touch, cut the stem and peel the skin before chopping into bite sized pieces
  • Season them with salt, pepper and a generous “glug” of balsamic vinegar
  • Marinate the beets for about 30 minutes before adding the generous “glug” of EVOO

** side note – if you don’t wait to add the oil, the balsamic won’t penetrate the beets properly and they may not taste as good

PS – Eat the beet green’s too – and you can become the fusion of Superman and Popeye!


“Being Healthy Doesn’t Have To Be Hard.”


Grandma Knew Best Author*Debra Orringer, MS from Naples, FL, is a Holistic Health Coach and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist with over 20 years in the industry. She has managed the wellness programs at the Kennedy Space Center as well as consulted for several national fitness companies, authored articles, and retains a myriad of advanced level certifications.  Debra produces a nutritional blog weekly at www.DebraOrringer.com and can be reached at debo@debraorringer.com