Are You Onboard with Beets?

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Do you think beets taste earthy…. or like dirt? There’s no doubt that beets are one of those love-it-or-hate-it kinds of vegetables.

If you aren’t onboard with beets yet, it’s time to rethink your relationship with this root vegetable. Beets are very versatile – you can try them juiced, pureed, powdered, steamed or roasted!

Rich in antioxidants, beets provide nutrients that you won’t get from spinach, kale or broccoli. Health benefits include, but are not limited to:

  1. Enhanced blood flow and oxygenation: Beets are rich in nitrates, which our bodies convert into nitric oxide, a compound that enhances vessel dilation and blood flow, strengthens muscle contraction and reduces the amount of oxygen that our muscles need.
  2. Reduce blood pressure: Nitrate-rich beets may help to reduce blood pressure.
  3. Inflammation: Beets contain a host of nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties that may help protect against inflammation-related diseases, like heart disease and diabetes.
  4. Detox: The betalain in beets can support the body's natural detoxification process by binding to toxins so that they can be excreted from our bodies.
  5. Athletic performance and recovery: Supplementing with beet root juice or powder can improve athletic endurance by increasing exercise efficiency and oxygen utilization.

Ready to get on board with beets, but not sure where to start? Check out this simple recipe for roasting the perfect whole beet:

Ingredients:

  1. 4 pounds beets, red or golden
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Scrub beets to remove dirt. Cut the leaves and upper stems from the beets, leaving an inch or two of the stem on the top of each beet.
  2. Place beets in a single layer in the baking dish and cover with foil. Roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour, flipping the beets halfway through to ensure they're roasted evenly.
  3. Check for doneness by piercing the largest beet with a fork or skewer. If it pierces easily, they're done. If it's still firm, continue to roast, checking for doneness every 10 minutes or so.
  4. Remove from oven. Remove the foil and allow beet to cool for at least 5-10 minutes. Slice off stems and tails, and remove skin while beets are still warm. You can use an old kitchen towel to "scrub" the skin off, or use plastic gloves to prevent hands from staining.

For more details on beets, check out Molly’s original article on Nola.com.

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