They’re sweet, packed full of fiber and are truly one of the world’s healthiest foods.
I’m talking about beets, those rather unassuming roots belonging to the chenopod family. Beets aren’t particularly charismatic aside from their vibrant colors — from golden yellow to deep purple, crowned in bright to dark green.
It's a shame some people think of beets only as a traditional food eaten on holidays or as something to occasionally throw on a salad plate.
What the beet lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in versatility. They're a vegetable that can be roasted, steamed or boiled.
They're generally widely available year round, though the best time to find fresh young tender roots is from June through October.
If you haven't tried beets in a while, here are six reasons why you’ll fall in love with this superfood and want to bring beets to the table often.
1. Energy Boost
Beets are rich in natural nitrates, which are converted in the body to nitric oxide, known to expand the wall of blood vessels so you enjoy more oxygen, nutrients and energy.
A recent study showed six days of beet juice enhanced overall physical performance and heart function during exercise, including a 2 percent reduction in resting blood pressure and a 20 percent increase in stamina.
2. Weight Loss
Beets have a sweet, earthy flavor but one cup of raw beets has only 35 calories, 8 grams of carbohydrates and is bursting with fiber, a perfect recipe for weight management.
The sugars in natural whole food beets are complex carbohydrates, sometime referred to as “smart carbs” that fuel the muscles and brain. Unlike refined sugar—which is sometimes made from beets— whole beet sugars contain powerful nutrients and phytochemicals.
3. Cupid’s Potion
Beets have been considered the ‘fruit of love’ since antiquity. Around 800 BC, an Assyrian text described beets growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
During the Roman Empire, beets were considered an aphrodisiac and were so beloved for their potency that frescoes of beets decorated the walls of the Lupanare brothel in Pompeii.