Possibly originating from North Africa and belonging to the Chenopodiaceae family, beet is a vegetable that is perfect for beautifying and enhancing the colors of our winter salads. Despite its sweet flavor, beet is low in calories (about 40 kcal / 100 g).
Beet is one of the vegetable groups that contain a high dose of antioxidants. Indeed, various studies have shown that a regular intake of the antioxidants present in beets (lutein and zeaxanthin) helps reduce significantly the risk of macular degeneration related to age.
There are several varieties of beets:
– Red beet – It is the type we consume and the one that is best known. Its intense color is due to the betacyanin pigment, a powerful antioxidant. It is also rich in B group vitamins and in vitamins A and C. It also contains minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc, copper and phosphorus. As for its leaves, which are also very rich in antioxidants, they can be consumed either raw in salads or cooked (just like spinach).
– White beet – This type is used in the production of sugar. This is the reason why it is also called “sugar beet”.
– Fodder beet – This type is used in livestock feeding.
When it comes to cooking beets, it is always advisable to cook them with their skin so that to minimize nutrient loss. By doing so, the skin would be easily peeled too. In any case, we should never prick the beets to ascertain their level of cooking and that is in order to prevent their discoloration. Instead, we should rely on the appearance of the skin which should come off easily after cooking.
On the other hand, we should always choose the beets that are small in size and whose flesh is fine. Finally, after eating beets, it is possible that we notice the somewhat reddish color of urine or stool; there is nothing to worry in such a harmless case.