Happy New Year! Perhaps you've made a resolution to eat healthier this year. Beets are a great "secret weapon" addition to your diet, due to the lesser-known, but highly beneficial nutrients they contain. Certain compounds in beets, such as nitrates, betalains, and betaine, can help with oxidative stress, inflammation, cardiovascular health, and cognition. Betalains, which give beets their bright red color, are known to provide a powerful antioxidant and inflammatory effect. Read up on all of the ways beets can improve your health here
. The unique texture and color of beets provide a great addition to any meal. We hope you incorporate this lovely root vegetable into your dishes this month, or any time of the year!
Beets are native to the shores of North Africa, Europe and the Middle East; they were first cultivated by the ancient Romans. In the 19th century, when it was found that beets could be converted into sugar, the crop’s commercial value significantly grew. Beets are a member of the Amaranthaceae family, along with chard, quinoa and spinach. This root vegetable comes in an array of colors, including: deep red, red and white striped, orange, golden yellow and purple.
- Beet leaves are an excellent source of potassium and a good source of vitamin B9 (folic acid) and the mineral magnesium.
- Beet roots are an excellent source of vitamin A and the mineral potassium; they are a good source of vitamin C, B2 (riboflavin) and magnesium.
- One cup of beets delivers about 3 grams of dietary fiber, which helps improve digestion.
- Betanin is the pigment that gives beets their deep purple-red color; it is known for its cancer-fighting properties.
- Beet juice can be used as a natural dye!
- Beet greens are also edible.