If one were to compare the brilliant crimson color and the nutritional value of this humble vegetable to that of a precious stone, rubies would come to mind.
Beets are as low in calories as they are high in most of the important vitamins and minerals. They are also a rich source of fiber (20% of RDI) and nitrates. During digestion, the conversion of nitrates into nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the brain’s frontal lobe (site of high level thinking, memory and decision making), improving mental functions and reducing the risk of dementia. At the same time, eating beets lowers triglyceride levels and blood pressure—especially systolic pressure (i.e. during heart muscle contractions).
Since nitrate levels remain high in the body for about six hours—especially after eating raw beets—they are known to boost athletic performance.
Beet roots’ rich store of nutrients are also powerful anti-cancer fighters and immune system boosters. Beets increase stamina, help the body’s detoxification process and when teamed with its edible stalks (beet greens), it keeps bones healthy and strong. Both red and golden varieties of beets contain phosphorus, zinc, A, B and C vitamins, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, calcium and iron.
Marinating beets with olive oil, lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar), herbs and spices, lends them probiotic qualities.
Moderation is advised in both frequency and portion size when eating beet-based dishes, precisely because of this root vegetable’s concentration of nutrients, to avoid overdosing on ‘too much of a good thing.’