BEHIND THE BEET
Did you know that beets were originally used solely for their greens? Centuries ago when they started using the root of it (where the color is or the “bulb;”) they used it to help with diseases related to digestion and the blood. Fast forward a bit and now we even use beetroot juice to color wine and food!
- Most common with the most varieties and all have a different, notable appearance
- Flavor: Earthy, gritty flavor which is due to the pigment and lends to this variety being the most beneficial to your health
- Names: red ace, Detroit dark red, early wonder tall top, bull’s blood, ruby queen, + the longer shaped (like a wider carrot) are: cylindra, forono
- Yellow-orange in color with less belatains
- Names: Touchstone gold, golden, boldor
- Flavor: Milder, more palatable flavor
- Most often pink-toned on the outside. When cut open, they look like a peppermint swirl
- Flavor: Are sweeter than red varieties + known for making dishes “pretty”
- Names: bassano, Bull’s eye, candy stripe, chiogga
- Most uncommon + least “healthy”
- Names: sugar, baby white, albino…
- Flavor: white beets are the mildest, sweetest, and least “earthy-tasting”
When hitting up the produce aisle or Farmer’s market, make sure when picking beets they are smooth, firm, and without blemishes.
COMMON COOKING PREPARATIONS:
- 100 grams (2/3 cups) of beet roots are a mere 44 calories + have 2 grams of fiber along with 1.7 grams of protein.
- They have a good deal of vitamins and minerals, but the true health benefits come from their color + their chemical composition due to the soil they grow in.
- Nitrates, of the dietary kind, are converted into nitric oxide in the body. This is a molecule that dilates blood vessels, causing your blood pressure to drop. Studies say the effects can happen within hours and is stronger in raw vs cooked beets.
- Interestingly, these nitrates have also been said to lend to improving mental and cognitive function by helping blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain
- These nitrates are also said to enhance athletic performance because they improve the efficiency of mitochondria. Mitochondria are responsible for producing energy within your cells. Beets are also said to increase your oxygen use by 20% when exercising. Consuming them 2-3 hours before a workout is recommended to see these benefits.
- While human studies are limited, the pigment in beets called betalains have proven to act as an anti-inflammatory in rats.
- 1 cup of beets contain 3.4g of fiber, which helps regulate digestive health. The average American only consumes 10-12g of fiber/day and we need 25-30g people!
FUN FACT: You can use the greens/leaves attached in a pesto or saute to add to a veggie dish or salad. Wash well + dry before using.
MY RECENT RECIPE: