‘Nutrition’ isn’t a buzzword commonly associated with chiropractic care, but the two are more closely related than we think; the relationship between nutrition and chiropractic care extends beyond simply eating for overall good health (although, if that’s something you're doing then you’re already on track!).
*Scroll down for a nutritious, delicious, CNS-boosting recipe at the end of this segment!
A (very) broad overview
Your CNS (or Central Nervous System) consists of your brain and your spine. Your brain is the command center that controls and gives the orders for all of your voluntary and involuntary processes, it’s the “home” of your thoughts, perceptions and emotions, and it’s the main interpreter of information coming from your external environment and your internal environment (such as your internal organs… such as your stomach). Your spine is the “highway” by which signals get sent back and forth between your brain and the rest of your body. Your CNS is the best-protected system of all of your body's organ systems, and that's thanks to the bones of your skull and spine... Now what could your spine possibly have to do with chiropractic care? Just kidding.
There are so many connections between diet and the CNS (both the brain and spine) that it would be impossible to cover them all in this month alone. We’ll be covering a different CNS/chiro/nutrition connection point and featuring one food or nutrient each month that we can use to optimize CNS health and thus supplement our chiropractic care.
CNS-boosting food of the month: Beets
We can’t talk about the CNS without talking about internal inflammation, which can affect our brains and our joints- including the facet joints that link the vertebrae of our spines together! Beets not only reduce inflammation and work to remove toxins from our blood, but also increase blood flow to our brains (via their naturally-occuring nitrates). What powerful little root veggies! We love the following beet recipe because it’s extremely versatile and can be dressed up or down, and many of the ingredients can be substituted to fit your needs without sacrificing the overall flavor!
Beet Salad with Rosemary-Maple Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30
Assembly Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 servings
- 4 fresh medium red or gold beets (or both!), skins on
- 1 (10 ounce) package of mixed salad greens or baby greens of your choice
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces of goat cheese (optional)
- 3 tbsp of real maple syrup (preferably Grade B or A)
- 2 1/2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar - OR - 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp of dijon mustard
- 4 small shallots, finely minced- OR- 2 ounces of red onion, finely minced
- 2 1/2 tsp of minced fresh rosemary or 3/4 tsp of dried crushed rosemary
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Thoroughly scrub the beets to remove any surface dirt.
- Place the beets in a saucepan and fill with enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil then cook the beets for 20 to 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and cool the beets then cut them into bite-size cubes.
- In a bowl, whisk together your vinegar, minced shallot/onion, maple syrup, rosemary, salt and pepper, dijon mustard and olive oil to make the dressing.
- Divide your greens evenly onto salad plates and place equal amounts of the cubed beets over the greens.
- (Optional step): Top each salad with small dabs of goat cheese.
- Drizzle each plate with dressing to taste.
Popular ingredient additions/variations: fresh or canned (and drained) mandarin orange segments, chicken, lamb, toasted pine nuts, slivered almonds, candied or plain toasted walnuts, candied or plain toasted pecans, shelled toasted pumpkin seeds, quinoa, large-pearl cous cous, barley, buckwheat, soft cheese like Boursin, feta cheese, fresh fennel root (thinly sliced)