[veggie photo]

Beets

Beets are a highly versatile vegetable. They are not eaten raw but are cooked and served as a side dish, pickled or used in stews. Beet greens, the most nutritious part of the vegetable can be lightly cooked and served like spinach. The best flavoured beets are small, with the greens still attached. Boil the beet roots unpeeled, which retains most of the nutrients and deep red colour. The skins then peel off after they have cooled.

Key Ingredients of Beets

Per Serving: 125 ml boiled diced beet root, 66g
Per Serving: 100 beet root raw, cubed

Per Serving: 125 ml boiled diced beet greens, 76g

The Benefits of Beets

Beets, like all fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in complex carbohydrates, ,contain no cholesterol and almost no fat. The vitamins and minerals in beets, along with the antioxidants and phytochemicals make this vegetable an excellent food choice - both root and green tops! Beet root are an excellent source of folate, a good source of manganese, and a source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, magnesium and thiamin. Although beets are a source of iron, keep in mind that the form of iron found in plant sources, such as beets and beans, isn't as readily absorbed by the body as iron from animal sources. However, beets also contain vitamin C, which improves absorption of iron from plant sources.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are nutrients that play an important role in health maintenance. They neutralize harmful chemicals called "free-radicals" that cause cell damage in the body. Antioxidants have been strongly linked to the protection from numerous diseases from heart disease to cancer, eye disease and the regulation of the immune system.

Phytochemical - Anthocyanins

Beets are rich in anthocyanins, the pigment that makes the root red, and is responsible for the repair and protection of DNA in the body. Anthocyanins are photonutrients that are widely distributed in fruits and vegetables. Their consumption may offer protection from some chronic diseases.

Carotenoids & Beta-carotene

Beets contain beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, highly pigmented red, orange, yellow and dark green plants, that converts to vitamin A for future use in the body. About 40% of the carotenoids we eat are converted to vitamin A; the rest function as antioxidants. Beta carotene is especially effective in this regard. Beta-carotene may offer some protection from the risk of age-related macular degeneration and some cancers.

Vitamin A

Beet greens are an excellent source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. Excess amounts are stored in the liver and fatty tissue. It is essential for healthy eyes, skin, teeth and bones. It plays a significant role in fending off infections and illness. The body needs vitamin A for growth and repair. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidation damage. They neutralize harmful chemicals called "free-radicals" that cause cell damage in the body. Antioxidants have been strongly linked to the prevention of numerous diseases from heart disease to cancer, eye disease and regulation of the immune system. The body needs Vitamin A to synthesize amino acids in the body. Vitamin A is essential for normal vision and is necessary for normal cell growth and division, the development of bones and teeth, and for the health of skin, mucous membranes tissue that lines the intestines, airways and other organs.

Vitamin C

Beet greens are a good source of vitamin C, which has been identified as an antioxidant nutrient that plays an important role in health maintenance, and possibly, in disease prevention. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps gums healthy, resists infection, aids in the absorption of iron and many other vital functions. Vitamin C is necessary to make and maintain collagen, the connective tissue that holds the body and organs in place. It is an important antioxidant, associated with lowering the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

Potassium

Beet greens are an excellent source of potassium and beet root, a source of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps to regulate the body's balance of fluid. It is essential for many metabolic processes and is instrumental in the transmission of nerve impulses, proper muscle function, and maintaining normal blood pressure.

Folate

Beets are an excellent source of folate, a water-soluble B group vitamin. Because the body doesn't keep excess amounts of the water-soluble vitamins in reserve, the body must replenish them daily. Folate plays a crucial role in every body function that requires cell division. This helps explain the importance in fetal development. Prior and during pregnancy, folate helps prevent neurological defects, such as spina bifida, in the fetus. All women of childbearing age need to have a regular source of folate.

The many tasks of folate include making blood cells, building muscles, healing wound and producing chemicals that keep the brain and nervous system functioning properly. Folate is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. High folic acid content helps to reduce blood homocysteine levels and thought to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Dietary Fibre - Multiple Health Benefits

Beets contain some dietary fibre. Considerable evidence has shown the advantages of a diet of high fibre. Dietary fibre consists of remnants of edible plant cells that resist digestion and absorption in the stomach and small intestines of humans.

Iron

Beets and beet greens are a source of iron, a mineral that is an integral part of many proteins and enzymes that support good health. Iron plays a vital role in transporting oxygen and in regulating cell growth. Iron boosts the immune system and prevents anemia.

Manganese

Beets are a good source of manganese, a trace mineral that plays an important role in the formation of bone and connective tissue in the body and plays a role in healing wounds.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral for the human body. Beets are a source of magnesium, needed for the formation of protein and bone, making new cells, activating B vitamins and blood clotting.

Thiamin

Beets are a source of thiamin, a water-soluble B vitamin, that the body requires to break down carbohydrates, fat and protein. It is also required for the proper functioning of the nerve cells.

Vitamin B6

Beet greens are a source of Vitamin B6 is needed in the body to release energy in forms that the cells can use. It is instrumental in the functioning of the nervous and immune systems and the manufacture of red blood cells.