Beets nutrition facts
Beets are highly nutritious and “cardiovascular health” friendly root vegetables. Certain unique pigment antioxidants in this root and its top greens have been found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels within the body, and have anti-aging effects.
Botanically, this tuberous root vegetable belongs to the Amaranthaceae family, in the beta genus. Its scientific name is Beta vulgaris. Swiss chard is another member of the beta genus grown for its edible leaves.
Many different cultivars like red, orange-yellow and white verities of beet exist. The unique crimson-red color of red beet is due to betalain pigments, such as betanin and betacyanin. Yellow varieties are rich in ß-xanthin pigment. The root and its top tender greens have been in use for human consumption. Chioggia beet or candy cane variety has alternative red and white concentric whorls.
What Are Beets?
Beets or beetroots, as they are often called, belong to the Chenopodiaceous family. Their history stretches back to ancient times, and the earliest signs of their cultivation were approximately 4,000 years ago in the Mediterranean region. From there, they were probably transported to Babylon, and by the 9th century AD, they had made their way into the Chinese culture and cuisine. They have long been associated with sexuality and have been used as an aphrodisiac for thousands of years.
Nutritional Value Of Beets
Beets have a wide range of health benefits because of their nutritional content, including vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds like carotenoids, lutein/zeaxanthin, glycine, betaine, dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus, while also being a source of beneficial flavonoids called anthocyanins. They are very low in calories, with no cholesterol, but they do have the highest sugar content of all vegetables.
Health benefits of beets
- Garden beet is very low in calories (provide only 45 kcal/100 g), and contain zero cholesterol and a small amount of fat. Its nutrition benefits come particularly from fiber, vitamins, minerals, and unique plant derived anti-oxidants.
- The root is a rich source of the phytochemical compound, glycine betaine. Betaine has the property of lowering homocysteine levels within the blood. Homocysteine, one of the highly toxic metabolite, promotes platelet clot as well as atherosclerotic plaque formation, which, otherwise, can be harmful to blood vessels. High levels of homocysteine in the blood result in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and peripheral vascular diseases.
- Raw beets are an excellent source of folates. It contains about 109 µg/100 g of this vitamin (Provides 27% of RDA). However, prolong cooking may significantly deplete its level in food. Folates are necessary for DNA synthesis within the cells. When given during peri-conception period folates can prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
- Fresh tubers contain small amounts of vitamin-C; however, its top greens are rather excellent sources of this vitamin. 100 g of beet greens provide 30 mg or 50% of RDA. Vitamin C is one of the powerful natural antioxidants, which helps the human body scavenge harmful free radicals one of the reasons for cancer development.
- Additionally, its top greens are an excellent source of carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants, and vitamin A; contain these compounds several times more than that of in the roots. Vitamin-A is required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Consumption of natural vegetables rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- The root is also a rich source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6) and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
- Further, the root composes of moderate levels of potassium. 100 g fresh root hold 325 mg or 7% of daily requirements. Potassium lowers heart rate and regulates metabolism in the cells by countering detrimental effects of sodium.
Cooking with beets
Enjoy! Romans 8:28
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This post compiled and created by Tisha Johnson Matthews, of Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens. Special thanks to J. David Matthews, of Barnesville, Georgia for support and patience with all that I try and test. To see other fantastic recipes, or to find more healthy and delicious recipes, subscribe to our blog and follow us on Social Media.Information found on Nutrition and You and other informative sites.