Why You Should Add Beets To Your Shopping List & How To Cook With Them
Multipurpose produce is a thing, and we don't just mean a vegetable you can use multiple ways: We're talking veggies that have many usable parts. (Think carrot greens and watermelon rind.)
Another great example of a versatile veggie: beets! This vibrant food is packed with nutrients—from the greens to the roots to the bulbs. And there are just as many delicious ways to cook beets as there are health benefits.
Why you should eat more beets.
Other than the obvious—that they're delicious and versatile—beets are a good source of heart-healthy compounds and phytonutrients. According to registered dietitian Ella Davar, R.D., CDN, "Beets are high in nitrates1, which turn into nitrite and nitric oxide," which can help support healthy blood pressure.
One systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2013 found that "inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation2 was associated with a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure," she told mindbodygreen.
Other studies have linked beet juice specifically to athletics. Anecdotally, some people have found that beetroot juice is good for muscle recovery, while others "may also experience improved athletic performance and exercise endurance3," according to Davar. 3
"Beets contain a lot of phytonutrients," says Davar, "called anthocyanins and betalains. They support detoxification through increasing enzymes." While the body's natural detoxification processes (aka the liver) are thoroughly up to the challenge in most cases, these nutrients help support that crucial organ's function. Similar phytonutrients are found in pomegranates and other deep red fruits and vegetables.
Our 10 favorite ways to enjoy beets.
One of the best things about beets is how versatile they are. The bulbs feature a rich, slightly sweet, slightly tart, earthy flavor. Plus, they come in a variety of colors—though the red ones are the most iconic, and tend to have a good dose of phytonutrients. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy this root vegetable—at any meal of the day:
- For breakfast: Try these beet red velvet pancakes or add them to a smoothie (like this one).
- For lunch: Top off your favorite salad with a scoop of this tasty slaw, dip your favorite veggies in this beet and sage dip, or make a batch of this beet soup.
- For dinner: Make this vegan beetroot curry, or toss this nightshade-free marinara sauce on your favorite pasta.
- For something else: Skip the store-bought in favor of making your own beetroot ketchup, enjoy something sweet and rich with these beet brownies, or sip on this beetroot and pomegranate "pinot" instead of red wine.
Looking for even more ways to enjoy beets? Here are 10 more ideas for adding this vegetable to your diet.
Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.