As far as healthy living goes, some decisions are crystal clear. If you're in the mood for an afternoon snack, opting for a granola bar instead of those oh-so-tempting brownies can generally be chalked up as a major life win.
But what happens when you have two elite healthy foods going head to head? What if you're choosing between two vivacious veggies with undeniably all-star resumes — like beets and carrots?
In the spirit of healthy competition, we teamed up with Naked Juice to get to the root (pun most certainly intended!) of the matter.
The Elevator Pitch
Beets are rich in folate and betaine, two nutrients which help prevent artery damage and help lower the risk of heart disease. They also contain betalin pigments, which are widely considered to aid detoxification. Generally speaking, beets are great friends to our blood and livers.
Believe it or not, carrots were first grown for medicinal purposes — which may stem from the fact that the root vegetable is an amazing source of carotenes and vitamin A. In fact, a single carrot will provide you with a whopping 200% of daily suggested vitamin A intake!
As a child reluctant to eat your veggies, you may have heard that carrots are good for your eyesight. The urban legend is actually a myth, propagated by the British in WWII as a diversion to explain why they were thwarting Nazi bombers. (Side note: while vitamin A is good for your eye health, it doesn't actually improve vision.)
Beets, on the other hand, have been considered an aphrodisiac for centuries. The Ancient Romans, for example, "believed that beets and their juice promoted amorous feelings." Since beets have an unusually high amount of boron (a trace mineral that increases the body's level of sex hormones), the Romans were in fact onto something.
Carrots and beets are more flexible than a skilled yoga instructor. If you're looking to get crafty with your carrots, you can start the day with carrot cake oatmeal, or save them for later in the form of curried coconut soup. If you're looking to get your juice on, try an orange-carrot concoction for an extra, nutrient-filled boost!
Beets are perfect if you're looking to cleanse with a detoxifying soup or salad. They're also rather delectable as chips, and can be quite the treat when enjoyed in velvet brownie form. Not to be outdone by carrots, the bright, betalain-rich vegetable may very well be "unbeetable" when it comes to the juice game.
Eminent Pop-Culture Appearances
Beets have enjoyed a pop-culture revival over the past 20 years or so. After a fictional band from the 90's Nickelodeon cartoon Doug named themselves after the wondrous root vegetable, The Office's Dwight Schrute became a loyal ambassador of the underappreciated food. Among other things, Dwight is celebrated for his oft-mentioned beet farm.
Carrots, as we know, have long been the go-to snack of Bugs Bunny. In the words of Bugs himself, "Carrots are divine, you get a dozen for a dime, it's magic!" Bugs may need to adjust his price for inflation, but the primary sentiment certainly rings true.
Dependable And Reliable
When compared to flashier greens or zestier fruits, root vegetables arguably don't have the same alluring pizzazz. But what they lack in style they certainly make up for in substance. Carrots and beets are like the pickup trucks of healthy foods, in the sense that you can always count on them. They're available year-round (even during the winter, when many fruits and vegetables aren't), are chock full of nutrients and healthy fibers, and are favorably priced. Don't sleep on either all-star of the health food world!
For even more ways to enjoy beets and carrots, be sure to check out our ever-growing recipe hub.