The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) aims to have at least 75% of the U.S. population consuming two or more portions of fruits daily and 50% consuming three or more servings of vegetables. In 2013, the (CDC) found that only 8.9% of Americans were eating adequate amounts of vegetables. Consuming beets are a great way to meet the vegetable consumption goals this fall.
The beet plant is from the same plant family as chard. All parts of the beet plant are edible. They are not cold tolerant, but they do tolerate a light frost, so beets can be best grown in the spring and fall. Beets are highly nutritious and have many heart health benefits. There are certain unique pigment antioxidants in the root as well as in its top-greens. They have been found to offer protection against heart disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels within the body, and have anti-aging effects.
Pickled beets can be a good choice because they are low in fat. Their high dietary fiber content offers a number of health benefits, which includes promoting a healthy digestive system and stable blood sugar levels. They are also high in potassium. They are a good magnesium source, a nutrient that assists in maintaining proper function of a person’s nerves, muscles, immune system and the human heart. There is a rich level of vitamin A in beets. A person’s body uses vitamin A to ensure the proper health of eyes, skin, teeth and mucus membranes. Beets can be high in sodium if pickled beets or canned beets are used. Fresh tubers contain small amounts of vitamin C. 100 grams of beet greens provide 30 mg or 50% of the RDA. Vitamin C is one of the powerful natural antioxidants, which helps the human body fight off free radicals, which happens to be one of the reasons for cancer development. Beets can be a great substitution for red food coloring. Below are a number of recipes to prepare pickled or raw beets.
Written by Tracy Williams
Tracy Williams is a graduate of Dominican University with a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics.