Any way you slice them, beets are a versatile part of a healthy diet. They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, including several of the B vitamins, vitamin C zinc, selenium, manganese, phosphorus. Also rich in antioxidants (lutein, betalain, and zeaxanthin), beets support the body’s ability to eliminate toxins and free radicals. Like most nutrient-dense veggies, beets support the immune system and are potent staples in an anti-inflammatory diet.
Since beets are also rich in fiber, including them in your diet helps support a healthy digestive system and can prevent common problems like indigestion and constipation. Just don’t be surprised to see a reddish pigment in your stool or urine. (If that persists when not eating beets, it’s best to consult your doctor).
In addition to purple, beets come in red, gold, and pink. When selecting beets, opt for organic whenever possible. Look for small or medium-sized roots. Skins should be smooth and evenly colored. Beet greens or roots might look a little beat up, but they are quite hardy. Avoid choosing beets that show dark spots, bruises or wet areas, which indicate the vegetable is rotting.
Generally, you’ll want to use the beets soon after bringing them home. From the plump, juicy, bulb, to the root and greens, there are a number of ways to add this veggie to a meal and reap the health benefits. Slice up beets for salads or as an addition to yogurt. Roast them or dice them into a stir fry (adding at the very end).
If you have a large number of beets or aren’t using them right away, check out these tips for storage of the bulb and greens, from Harvest to Table.