In Part 1, we delved into every meal being a treat. We’re wired for pleasure and a lot of that can come from food, three times a day, maybe even four when you make room for a dessert that could actually enhance your meal’s digestibility!
Fats in the diet need adequate bile production from the liver, and then adequate bile release from the gallbladder, to be properly emulsified and digested. Bile is the secret weapon; and it’s food aid is you guessed it, beets!
Bile is a soap like substance secreted by the liver:
- it emulsifies fats from our food by increasing the surface area of the fat molecules using a fat splitting enzyme called lipase. It then digests and absorbs the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K more efficiently.
- it’s made from cholesterol and is a main way in which we eliminate cholesterol from our bodies. When our bile acid levels are high, our body stops making more cholesterol. When our bile acids are low our bodies can make up to 15 times more cholesterol.
- it also helps make calcium and iron more absorbable.
- it’s also the fluid into which the liver excretes toxins for removal. After the bile is produced in the liver, it goes to the gallbladder for storage, and eventually heads into the small intestine for removal. It’s secreted by the gallbladder through hormone messages when we eat a meal containing fats. After the intestines absorb these fats they are then used by the body to build cells, hormones and prostaglandins. This only happens fully if our digestion is working properly.
- So we need bile. We need good quality bile. And we need it all the time!
Beets can be a wonderful health promoting food. Beets provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detox support in the body. Beets contain betaine and are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, as well as carotene and B complex. Betaine is a substance that helps to protect the liver and stimulate the flow of bile.
Betaine is found in the peel and flesh of the beet, but is mainly concentrated in the top of the beet where the leaves connect. One of the best ways to get beets into your meals, even breakfast, lunch or dinner, is to finish off the meal with it in dessert, making allowances in your portion sizes to save room (and digestive aid). Try these desserts: