Beets are definitely not our first option in vegetables. But, why not? Beets have a beautiful, dark, rich maroon color (I’m not referring to the music band) that can instantly highlight any plate and, on top of that, they’re full of antioxidants. Uh, give me some please! I prefer to eat them raw and grated. If you decide to cook them, try to keep the cooking time under 15 minutes if it’s boiled (otherwise water soluble vitamins will be lost) and under 1 hour if baked. Like almost all fruit and vegetables if you cook them for too long they will lose most of its nutrients. An interesting fact is that you can alter the color of the beets when cooking. If you any acid, like vinegar or lemon juice, it will brighten the color, just like red onions. If you add any alkaline substances, like baking soda, it will darken the color and salt will blunt the color. It grows in the cold seasons and it’s commonly found in northern countries. Being in Finland I’ve seen enough beets for the rest of my life; they are served almost every day in the university’s cafeteria.
This vegetable ruby has precious health benefits and is related to longevity. The pigments that give them their yellow or dark red color are called betalains, which is a powerful-all-natural anti-inflammatory with no known side effects. A funny fact is that not everyone can process betalains properly. In the United States, only 10-15% of adults are estimated to be “betalain responders”. A “betalain responder” is a person who has the capacity to absorb and metabolize enough betalains from beets (and other foods) to gain full antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cellular detoxification benefits#2. Additional benefits from betalains:
- Reduces the risk of blood clots
- Reduces bad cholesterol
- Protects cells from toxins known to trigger tumors.
- Protects your liver from toxins.
Am I the only one getting hungry for beets? This is vegetable royalty right here. It has a beautiful color, can be prepared in many ways and has so many benefits. Any type of inflammation, be it internal or external, can be relieved with a nice beet smoothie, like any of these. And for those days of the month ladies, this will taste like heaven for those cramps and bloating.
For this superfood’s recipes I have many options, all from this awesome beet lovers site. There are sandwiches, salads, casseroles, drinks, desserts and so much more, starring this superfood.
But there is a recipe that I have to share with everyone: Red Velvet Cake. This no ordinary red velvet cake; this is red velvet cake on steroids. It is vegan and has no food coloring, by now you can guess what gives it the particular red color. This recipe is by Chef Christina from Christina Cooks, a friend of mine introduced me to her, and he is also a food lover and future Chef: this is his blog. I’ve tried many ways to make this cake and this is -hands down- the best one. If you have time check Christina’s site, she has many delicious vegan recipes.
Okay, beets definitely deserve a place in my superfoods hall of fame.
**I will make a dish with this superfood in the winning category and post it next week. So the poll will be open until 17.03.2014**