The beet is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family and has been around for thousands of years. So many year, that it is thought that Aristotle might have munched on beets throughout his life. It is a root vegetable and unknown to most people the entire beet is edible (including its leafy top). The bulb or root will last longer than the leafy top, but both make great addition to your weekly meal plan.
There are many types of beets, however most people are familiar with the red beet, golden beet, Chioggia beet, or baby beet. All four types of beets can be easily baked in the oven. To bake a beet, first trim off the leafy green and wispy tail. Then clean the beet thoroughly. Preheat the oven to 350°F and wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Place each wrapped beet on a baking sheet and pour enough water on the baking sheet to barely cover the bottom. Bake for 45 minutes. Finally, let the beets cool and peel away the skin with a paring knife. Cooked beets will last a few weeks when stored in the fridge.
Beets are not only easy to cook, but are high in nutrition. Below is a beet nutrition summary based on high concentrations and importance to the human body.
- Folates – The beet is high in folate nutrition (also know has folic acid). Most people might associate this nutrient with pregnancy, however all people regardless if they are pregnant or not need folate. The nutrition of folic acid is critical because its is needed to make DNA and RNA. This function is why it is so critical for pregnant women to receive the necessary amount of nutrition to ensure a healthy baby. Folic acid has also been linked to assisting with anemia, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. Other vegetables similar to beets that are high in folate nutrition are asparagus, spinach, and broccoli.
- Vitamin C – Another great nutrition benefit to eating beets is they are high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant that can be found in a variety of different foods. Most people think of increasing their Vitamin C intake when they are sick. This response is accurate in that your body using Vitamin C to combat infections.
- Betalains – The beet literally gets its color (red, yellow, pink, and purple) from betalains. The color spectrum of betalains can also be found in rainbow chard. Betalains are gaining attention because they are thought to provide cancer-fighting nutrition. Betalains are not found in many foods, so make sure to seek out those vegetables and fruits that do contain this powerful nutrition.
- Potassium - Potassium nutrition is found in a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Beets are also high in potassium nutrition, as well as bananas, the most commonly thought of fruit with high potassium nutrition levels. Proper potassium nutrition levels help maintain a proper electrolyte balance.
Beets have high nutrition values and should be consumed frequently. Be careful when cooking, since applying heat to vegetables and fruits can decrease nutrition levels.