The beet, a root vegetable, is often ignored but certainly packed with nutrition and color. Beets boast both a sweet and a natural taste, and fairs well among other earthy-toned vegetables with a rich color variety to any diet. While it’s vibrant color speaks for itself, the range of use is crazy exciting!
But excitement is the last idea that comes to mind when we see them all frumpy, dirty, red and lying neglected on the produce shelves. It’s time to “turn the beat around” on beets and discover the wonderful side of this earthy produce.
Why take another look at beets? Here are 5 reasons:
- Color: Beets add variety and whimsy to any dish. The most common of colors in the beet are a deep red, but there are a number of beet varieties that range from white to yellow to red. There’s even a bi-color beet that is variegated, known as the Chioggia beet, which has red and white concentric rings. Mmmm…think about how that would look circling your greens!
- Energy: Beets are a high source of energy while containing low amounts of calories. Naturally high in sugar, however, beets gradually release energy into your system, as opposed to chocolate. Few foods are found in the clean eating world that are as beneficial as beets in this fact alone.
- Nutrition: Beets have a high volume of vitamins and minerals. This root veggie is loaded with potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; and beta-carotene. With big benefits for those women who are pregnant, it provides much needed vitamin B and iron, and promotes new growth to cells during pregnancy and replenish iron in a woman’s growing body.
- Detox: Fact is that beets can cleanse the body. They are an organic detox working in the liver, as a purifier for the blood, and can prevent various forms of cancer.
- Boosts mental and physical health: We all need a little more help in those departments right? When you get right down to it, beets contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments of depression. It also contains tryptophan, the same relaxant that lulls us to sleep after a big load of turkey on Thanksgiving Day! It creates a sense of well-being, calm spirits, and rest. Beets can also lower your blood pressure. If you are a diabetic, however, use sparingly.
So how do you turn the beet around and add this to your diet?
One way is to drink them. Juicing beets adds a delightful color to any mixture. Use a small amount at first to supplement your already yummy vegetable juices. The tops are a delightful way to work them into a leafy green salad, just like spinach. It is grown for its greens, which are actually more nutritious than the root itself. Another creative idea is to steam the the red bulbs for a tender accent to any salad. Slice and dice them for a bright colorful garnish to any dish. The combinations are endless with the many variety of uses.
Here’s one fact that I bet you didn’t know about the beet, it’s even been served in space! When the astronauts of Apollo 18 met up with their Russian companions in Soyuz 19, borscht was served. Borscht is traditional Russian soup, is colored red with beet juice. Beets seem to be more of an undiscovered vegetable that sometimes might remind us of our grandmother’s steamy pot boiling with a stinky side dish concoction. Do not fear…you’ll see that beets aren’t so scary after all. And honestly, they are a great source of nutrition and energy, and add a rich color variety to our diets that literally can’t be beat!