By: The Working Girl’s Kitchen
Beets are a deliciously hearty and satisfying vegetable that is rich in nutrients and naturally low in calories and fat. I’ve always loved them, pickled, chilled, roasted, etc, as a snack, in salads or as a side dish. But, not until recently did I discover how wonderful they are for you and how easy it is to prepare them.
Listed below are the wonders of this colorful vegetable:
- Antioxidants: Beets contain essential phytonutrients called betalains. Betalains contain a variety of antioxidants, and give beets their famous red and yellow hue. These phytonutrients, along with vitamin C and manganese, help to protect against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, as well as age-related macular degeneration.
- Lower blood pressure: Research has shown that beets can lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular disease. One study suggests that 8.5 ounces of beet juice can greatly lower systolic blood
- Keeps you hydrated: Beet juice contains high levels of potassium, which help to balance electrolytes and regulates the body’s fluids.
- Anti-inflammatory benefits. Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, certain cancers, and other health problems. Fortunately, beets contain high levels of carotenoid phytonutrients and betain (a B-complex vitamin), that help to regulate inflammation. Furthermore, beets also contain choline, an important vitamin in controlling inflammation.
- Detoxifies the body. Betalain pigments not only give beets their rich color, but are also important contributors to the body’s detoxification process. Pigments help to neutralize unwanted toxins and make them easier to eliminate in urine. Those that live in big cities or feel they are exposed to above average toxin levels could benefit from adding beets to their diet.
- Energy booster: Beets are high in natural nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is known to expand the walls of blood vessels so you can enjoy more oxygen, more nutrients, and more energy.
Also, the top greens are an excellent source of nutrients. I will post another recipe on how I prepared the greens.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Prepare the beets: Slice off the beet leaves close to the tip of the beet, leaving yourself enough to grip. Save the beet greens for another purpose. Scrub the beets thoroughly, then wrap them loosely in foil. No need to dry the beets before wrapping.
- Transfer the wrapped beets to a baking sheet. Roast for 50-60 minutes. Check the beets every 20 minutes or so. If they are starting to look dry or are scorching on the bottoms, dribble a tablespoon of water over the beets before re-wrapping. Beets are done when a fork or skewer slides easily to the middle of the beet. Small beets will cook more quickly than large beets.
- Peel the beets (optional): Let the beets cool enough to handle. Hold one of the beets in a paper towel and use the edges of the paper to rub the skin away. The skin should peel away easily; if it doesn’t, the beets likely need to cook for a little longer. Peel the remaining beets.
- Lightly salt the beets, if you choose to eat them by themselves. Beets can be stored whole or sliced for up to a week in the refrigerator.
- Beet roots
- Sea salt