Advertisement
Icon WebMD Expert Blogs

Real Life Nutrition

A Fresh Take on "Good for You"

Important:

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... Expand

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Hide

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Moving to a New Beet

By Janet Helm, MS, RD

beets

If there’s one vegetable that could kick kale off its pedestal, it just might be beets. Yes, this humble root veggie that was once widely maligned — much like Brussels sprouts — is now enjoying its star turn.

Just like you may have hated Brussels sprouts when you were younger (until you discovered the wondrous flavor when these little orbs are roasted), beets might stir up similar negative memories.  Many of us think of the sad-looking pickled beets on a salad bar. Or perhaps the syrupy sweet-sour Harvard Beets made with canned beets are what you remember from your youth.

Forget all that. These are not your grandmother’s beets.

Today, beets are a favorite of chefs and have become a sought-after super food (although I think all vegetables and fruits deserve super-food status).

And beets are hot with food bloggers — we’ve curated nearly 200 creative beet recipes on Healthy Aperture (a site that I helped create with fellow dietitian blogger Regan Jones). Who knew beets could be transformed into everything from hummus and smoothies to pasta, paninis, and naturally colored red-velvet cake?

Beets are also showing up in lots of new products on supermarket shelves, including juices, sports drinks, yogurt, snack bars, chips, and even baby food. Now you can find cooked and peeled beets in the refrigerated product section, which makes them so convenient to add to salads and other recipes at home.

This beet renaissance seems to have been sparked by the health-related research on this root vegetable. Beets are rich in natural compounds known as betalains, which provide the distinctive red color. Similar to other plant pigments, the betalains provide more than color — they contribute to the health-promoting properties. Beets are also one of the richest sources of nitrates (along with dark leafy greens). Our bodies convert dietary nitrates to nitric oxide, which helps enhance blood flow and lower blood pressure.

And in recent years, there’s been growing research on the use of beet juice to enhance sports performance. Some of these studies suggest that beet juice may boost stamina when we work out, allowing us to exercise longer. That’s why all of a sudden you can find beet juice products (including sports drinks, powdered supplements, and “shots”) promoted to athletes.

I prefer to eat my beets instead of drink them. I love the traditional red beet, but sometimes I buy a mixture of red and golden beets for roasting. Wrap them in foil and drizzle with olive oil for roasting, which intensifies their sweetness and makes their skins easy to peel.

I’ve also enjoyed experimenting with the baby-striped beet. When sliced it displays a dramatic fuchsia-and-cream striped pattern. You can eat these beets raw — sliced paper thin to top salads or stacked together with filling for a creative faux ravioli.

I just bought a big container of steamed and peeled baby beets at Costco, which I used to make a crostini-type appetizer last weekend, and plan to dice for salads this week.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy beets?

Posted by: Janet Helm, MS, RD at 12:12 pm

Comments

Leave a comment

Subscribe & Stay Informed

The Daily Bite

Receive a healthy, delicious recipe in your inbox every day.

Archives

WebMD Health News