Add Color to Your Diet with Beets

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Beets don’t get enough credit, in my opinion! They are the vegetable that I usually forget about, until I find something like beet hummus and become obsessed. Beets are great if you like that rich, earthy flavor.

Not only do they add great color to any dish, one cup of beets contains about 60 calories and 4 grams of fiber. They are a good source of the minerals copper and magnesium and have 148 µg of folate, or 37% of your daily target. Folate is an extremely important vitamin because it plays a crucial role in DNA synthesis. Beets  are also fat free. The greens can even be cooked and are extremely high in vitamin K, which is essential for blood health as it plays an important role in blood clotting. The greens are also high in vitamins A, C, B-2, and E, as well as copper, potassium, manganese and magnesium.

 One thing you might have heard about beets is that they are gaining popularity as an ergogenic aid, or something that is said to improve sports performance. Beet juice is rich in nitrates. In the body, nitrate is converted to nitric oxide, which plays an important role in blood and oxygen flow. (Not to be confused with nitrites in processed meats–when these compounds are exposed to high heat in the presence of protein, they can turn into compounds called nitrosamines–a possible cancer causing agent. This is a good post about the differences between the two.) But the nitric oxide from beets is different.

The theory is that consuming beetroot juice before hard workouts improves performance and delays muscle fatigue. The research I looked at was inconclusive–some articles say nitric oxide improves performance, while other articles found that it didn’t. Whether it helps or not, beets are still super healthy and are a great addition to your diet.

Beets can be boiled to make removing the skin easier. They can be peeled, chopped and roasted. They can be added to salads. Beets can also add an amazing red color to anything if you are looking for a natural food dye. Red velvet cake anyone?

Here are some recipes using beets that I have been meaning to try. Right now, my favorite is beet hummus. I cannot get enough and I’m going to try to make my own soon using the below recipe for beet and tahini dip.

Beet and Tahini Dip

Roasted Beets with Moroccan Spices

Baked Rosemary Beet Chips

Beet It Juice

What is your favorite way to eat beets?

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