Most people haven’t tried fresh beets. I had my first experience with fresh beets when I was 29 years old. My parents have only tried pickled beets which are frequently found on salad bars. Fresh beets are now a part of our family’s regular diet and I want to highlight 5 reasons why they should be part of your diet as well.
1. Lots of Food
Both the roots and greens are edible. Beets can be prepared with multiple methods including roasting, steaming, boiling, sautéed, or raw. Here is our family's favorite recipe.
Beet roots and greens
1 Tbs olive oil
4 Garlic cloves
(1) Cutup the greens and separate the roots.
(2) Roast the roots in the oven at 400 degF for 1 hr. Placing the beets on parchment paper helps reduce cleanup.
(3) Either sauté or boil the greens in 1 Tbs olive oil. In a separate pan, sauté onions and/or garlic in olive oil. After reaching desired consistency, mix the greens, garlic and onions together.
(4) After about an hour, the roasted beetroots should be fork tender. Mix together greens, roots, garlic, onion and salt if desired.
We like to boil the greens and roasting the beets. Boiling the greens does remove some of the beneficial nutrients, but it also helps remove oxalic acid which can react with calcium and magnesium in your saliva to form a plaque like solid on the back of your teeth. Oxalic acid is common to the family which includes kale, Swiss chard and spinach. Try searching for “spinach mouth feel” on the web for more details on how oxalic acid may contribute to buildup on your teeth.
2. Easy to Grow
We live in the Northwest and use raised bed gardens and beets have been one of the easiest things to grow organically. Our beets haven’t been significantly impacted by pests and you can grow then for 5 months of the year. Here's a picture of my wife with some freshly harvested beets!
3. Tastes good
Roasted beetroot has the texture of a baked white potato, but beets have a slightly sweet taste. The taste is distinct from the taste of a sweet potato or yam. Beet greens taste very similar to Swiss chard or spinach.Credit: Kyle Ritter
4. Improved Athletic Endurance
Beetroot has a high concentration of nitrate which may improve athletic performance. Consuming nitrate in whole foods can be beneficial, while the nitrate salt preservatives added to bacon and hotdogs are potential carcinogens.
5. Good with Chocolate
Beets also mix well with chocolate to provide a sweet treat. Our family enjoys mixing beetroot with chocolate to make smothies.
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
½ cup frozen roasted beets (if not frozen, add extra ice)
milk of choice in 1/8 cup increments to desired consistency (dairy, almond, etc)
Extras: shredded coconut, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder
To prepare, mix all ingredients into a blender and mix. A good blender is a critical for making smoothies. I went through 2 blenders in 4 years before I bought a Vitamix. Although expensive by comparison, it’s indispensable towards a whole foods based diet. Personally, I think it was well worth the investment. I have had mine for 6 years and they offer a 7 year warranty and manufacture in the US.