Beets nutrition facts
Beets are highly nutritious and “cardiovascular health” friendly root vegetables. Certain unique pigment antioxidants present in root as well as top greens have found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels in the body and have anti-aging effects.
Botanically, the root vegetable belongs to the beta vulgaris species. Scientific name: Beta vulgaris. Swiss chard is another member of the beta genus grown for its edible leaves.
Health benefits of beets
Garden beet is very low in calories (contain only 45 kcal/100 g), and contain only small amount of fat. Its nutrition benefits come particularly from fiber, vitamins, minerals, and unique plant derived anti-oxidants.
The root is rich source of phytochemical compound Glycine betaine. Betaine has the property of lowering homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine, one of highly toxic metabolite, promotes platelet clot as well as atherosclerotic-plaque formation, which is otherwise can be harmful to blood vessels. High levels of homocystiene in the blood results in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and peripheral vascular diseases.
Raw beets are an excellent source of folates; contains about 109 mcg/100 g (Provides 27% of RDA). However, extensive cooking may significantly depletes its level in food. Folates are necessary for DNA synthesis in the cells. When given during peri-conception period folates can prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
It contains significant amounts of vitamin-C, one of the powerful natural antioxidant, which helps body scavenge deleterious free radicals one of the reasons for cancers development.
Beet greens (tops) are an excellent source of carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants, and vitamin A; contain these compounds several times more than that of in the roots.Vitamin A is required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Consumption of natural vegetables rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
The root is also rich source of niacin (vit.B-3), pantothenic acid (vit.B-5), pyridoxine (vit.B-6) and carotenoids, and minerals such as iron, manganese, and magnesium.
In addition, the root indeed has very good levels of potassium. 100 g fresh root has 325 mg of potassium or 7% of daily requirements. Potassium lowers heart rate and regulates metabolism inside the cells by countering detrimental effects of sodium.
|Principle||Nutrient value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.17 g||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.80 g||7%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.155 mg||3%|
|Vitamin A||33 IU||1%|
|Vitamin C||4.9 mg||8%|
|Vitamin E||0.04 mg||0.5%|
|Vitamin K||0.2 µg||0%|
Selection and storage
In the store, choose fresh, bright, firm textured beets with rich flavor. Avoid those with slump looking or soft in consistency.
Whenever possible, go for organic to get maximum health benefits.
In the stores, oftentimes the roots with intact tops put for sale. If you are buying whole vegetable, severe top greens from the root as they rob moisture and nutrition from the roots.
Beet greens, like other greens, should be washed thoroughly before use in clean running water and rinsed in saline water for about 30 minutes in order to remove soil, dirt, and any insecticide residues.
Top greens should be used while they are fresh. Beetroot, however, can be kept in the refrigerator set at high relative humidity for few weeks.
Preparation and serving methods
The roots as well as their fresh tender green top leaves and stems are also used in the preparation of recipes.
To prepare, gently scrub and wash the roots in clean running water before use in order to remove sand, soil, and dust. Peel the tough outer layer using vegetable peeler. Cut the root into chunks, squares, or thin slices as you may desire.
Here are some serving tips:
Garden-beets are being used in varieties of delicacies.
The root may be eaten raw in salads with carrot, radish, cucumber, cabbage etc.
Steam the small cubes and serve warm with butter as a delicacy.
Pickled beets are a traditional food of the southern American states.
Beet juice is a popular health drink.
In India, the root are eaten boiled in curries with other vegetables such as carrot, potato, tomato etc.
In Europe,cooked chunks are enjoyed as side dish with added olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice.
In Eastern Europe, its soup, borscht prepared with added sour cream, is a popular recipe.
Betanin pigments, obtained from the plant parts, are being used in food industry as colorants, e.g. to improve the color of tomato paste, sauces, dessert, jams and jellies, ice cream, sweets...etc
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