You heard it right, these amazing veggies are not just for your grandma!
Why? in a word…nitrates.
The nitrates in beets are proven to help your body make better use of oxygen, resulting in better athletic performance and an increased tolerance for high-intensity exercise. They also boost brain power! Nitrates cause your blood vessels to dilate, increasing oxygen and blood flow to the brain.
These effects also lower your blood pressure, which means lower risk of heart attack or stroke.
To top it off, beets are high in antioxidants to fight inflammation and a good source of fiber for digestive health and detoxification.
So eat up, and “beet it” to the gym!
Cook beets yourself (the most budget-friendly option)
Beets are an inexpensive locally-produced item you can find year-round. Although other methods can bring out nuances in flavor, you will preserve the most health benefits by simply steaming fresh beets for about 15 minutes.
Leave the peel intact and cut off just the ends. Beets are easier to peel after they are cooked. Any slicing at all does cause the juices to start running, so you may want to use a plate or glass cutting board in place of a wooden one.
Small beets tend to be sweeter and can be steamed whole. For medium to large beets, cut into halves or quarters.
After beets are cooked, wait until they are cool enough to handle. You should be able to peel them by picking them up in a paper towel and gently rubbing off the skins.
Cooked beets are delicious served with goat cheese or crumbled feta and nuts like pecans, walnuts or pistachios. Place on a bed of dark leafy greens and drizzle with your favorite oil and a sweet vinegar.
side note: The “earthy” flavor in beets comes from a compound called geosmin. You can bring out their sweetness instead by pairing with a sweet dressing, oranges, apples, pears or dried fruit.
Ready to Eat/Drink Options
Beet-containing foods, drinks, and supplements are more available than ever! Cooked beets are available in Produce. Pickled beets are in the canned section, beet and cabbage slaw in refrigerated. Find beet juice alone or combined with other juices, like the Beetology line in Produce. Order a Sweet Beet juice at the juice bar – you can even call ahead if you’re in a hurry! In Supplements you can find beet powder, beet crystals, capsules and more.