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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Beet It!

Beets.  It seems that people either love them or hate them.  Or they never have tried them. 

Now, I wouldn't say that I'm a huge beet fan.  I don't eat them all that much.  But maybe I should.

Beets are incredibly healthy.  They are known to fight heart disease, birth defects and cancer (especially colon cancer).  They are full of good things like fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin C and more.  Many consider the beets used in borcht to be a factor why so many of those century-old Russians live so long.

But the pigments that give beets their intense color (whether red or yellow are the real health stars.  These pigments, called betalains, are major antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.  Interestingly, only about 10-15% of people are "betalain responders"--meaning that only some of us have the capacity to absorb and metabolize these compounds enough to get the full benefit.  It's worth the try, though.

There are all sorts of ways to prepare beets.  You could go Dutchie and pickle them.  I love them that way.  Their flavor intensifies when they're roasted.  You can even eat them raw.  And don't forget the greens.  Beet greens are very flavorful and so easy to prepare--just prepare as you would chard or spinach.

Here's a recipe from the New York Times for a beet salad that uses both the beet and their greens.  However you try them, enjoy their sweet taste and the great health benefits that you get from these tasty veggies.

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