Beets are root vegetables known for their beautiful deep red or purple color. There are also really interesting varieties of beets, including ones that have white with purple rings. How cool! Not only are beets pretty to look at—they are amazing for your health and a must for your summer salads.
Although beets are underground root vegetables, they are considered to be in the same family as spinach. In fact, beet leaves are actually healthier than the actual beet. After sugar cane, beets are the largest source of sugar. But if you stay away from processed refined beet sugar, you’ll find that they are one of the healthiest vegetables out there. Beets are full of cancer fighting antioxidants and vitamins. (via LifeScript)
Here are a few facts about beets you probably didn’t know!
Beets = sex: Known as “nature’s Viagra,” beets are a natural aphrodisiac. They contain the trace mineral boron, which is responsible for producing human sex hormones. Some of the first historical accounts of beets were in Ancient Rome, used to makes the Romans get busy! (via Full Circle)
Detoxify the body: Beets contain betalains, an important phytonutrient that is essential in phase 2 of the natural detoxification process the body goes through to rid itself of toxins. If your body is feeling a little out of whack, try to incorporate more beets into your diet. If your body is detoxified, your hormones and energy levels will skyrocket. (via Chatelaine)
Perfect food when pregnant: Beets are extremely high in folate, a vitamin that that helps prevent birth defects. In fact, they fulfill 35% of your daily needs. The beet greens are also high in iron, perfect for both mom and the baby!
Help fight depression: Beets contain the amino acid betaine that is often used to treat depression. Beets also have the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan (also in turkey) makes you calm and relaxed, helping to ease worry and stress.
According to LifeScript, there are a few guidelines you should follow when shopping and preparing beets. When looking at beets, make sure that the beet greens are still attached to the root. Stay away from slimy and bruised leaves that are dead or wilted. As for the actual beet root, pick beets that are smaller instead of larger and tougher. Oh, and keep a look out for those baby beets, they are regarded as a rare treat by cooking gurus.
Store beets in a perforated plastic bag. They can last a whopping 3 weeks so stock up. Separate the beet greens from the root and treat them as you would spinach. They spoil fast so be sure to eat them up.
Now it’s time to eat. You can make beets in so many ways. Raw, baked, boiled, steamed—you name it! You can even add them to your favorite smoothie for gorgeous look and yummy taste.
Expert tip: Make sure you keep the peel on beets when you cook them to preserve nutrients and keep the color from leaking out. Time to add this beautiful veggie to your grocery list now and enjoy all of the amazing benefits that the beet has to offer!