Including beets in your diet is a great way to protect your heart, fight
inflammation, and reduce the risks of cancer. This starchy root vegetable
is naturally high in disease-fighting phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins,
and trace minerals. It also provides a good amount of fiber, magnesium,
vitamin C, potassium and folate.
When purchasing beets, look for small or medium-sized beet roots that have
smooth skin and a deep color. Avoid those with spots or large bruises.
The healthiest way to eat beets is to consume them raw, baked for no more
than an hour at low temperatures, or steamed for no more than 20 minutes.
They are cooked thoroughly when they are fork-tender. Try them raw in
a salad or smoothie, or pair them with foods like goat cheese, arugula
or balsamic vinegar. They are also tasty when roasted.
Beets have benefits for athletes, too. They increase the levels of nitric
oxide in the body, which improves blood flow, gas exchange and mitochondrial
biogenesis and efficiency, among other benefits. It has also been shown
to improve cardiorespiratory endurance.
This information was provided by Kristin West, RD; April Melancon, RD;
and Rachel Punch, RD.