Care of Ashley Sauve
Beets are often overlooked, however this veggie has a special place in our hearts! In fact one of the earliest recorded uses of beetroot was as an aphrodisiac by Romans. There are many reasons to get beets on your plate this Valentine’s Day.
While beets are available in a variety of shades, red beets are most well known and widely available. The pigments that give beetroots their romantic hue are also responsible for a variety of impressive health benefits, including cancer and heart disease prevention.
Thanks to the rich concentration of betalain pigments, beets offer anti-oxidant effects which protect against cardiovascular disease and age-related illness such as Alzheimer’s. Beets are also high in phytonutrients with strong anti-inflammatory effects. Since many types of heart disease and even type-2 diabetes are caused by chronic inflammation in the body, beets are a healthy addition to any diet. Perhaps this is why Apollo 18 astronauts dined on beets in 1975.
One of the most significant health benefits associated with beetroot is colon cancer prevention because of its high fibre content. While all dietary fibre is important, there is some research indicating that the type of fibre found in beetroot is especially beneficial for colon cancer prevention.
Beetroots can be used raw, pickled, steamed or roasted. They can be added to salads, smoothies and even used in baking. Don’t forget about the greens! Like all greens, beet greens are great sources of vitamins A & K as well as iron. Cook them as you would any leafy green or toss them raw into smoothies!