Among the vegetables that we have available on a regular basis in the market, is beets. Beet is the large, fleshy root that grows on the plant of the same name. Its color is pinkish to violet and its flavor is sweet, due to its sugar content.
The most important varieties of beet are fodder (for animal feed) and common or red (as vegetable). Red beet is available in the market throughout the year and is usually sold in bunches if it is fresh, cooked or canned.
The fresh beet must be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and thus lasts two to three weeks. The cooked beets packed under vacuum, has the advantage of supporting up to 4 months and is often also peeled and ready to eat.
Regarding the nutritional composition, beets stand out for their high water content (89%) and carbohydrates (6.7%). It is a good source of fiber and is rich in folates, potassium and vitamin C, and in less proportion of calcium and sodium. It is also very rich in betaine and betalaine, pigments responsible for its purple color.
- The vegetables are often useful in weight control diets. The beet is , due to its moderate caloric value and its fiber content, as it provides a greater feeling of satiety.
- In pregnancy or in children , thanks to its content in folates, since in these stages of life the requirements of this vitamin increase. Folates are important in ensuring the correct development of the neural tube of the fetus, especially in the first weeks of gestation. Its deficiency causes in the future baby diseases such as spina bifida or anencephaly.
- In the prevention of diseases , due to the antioxidant action that blocks the harmful effect of free radicals.
- Folates are involved in the production of red and white blood cells, in the synthesis of genetic material and in the formation of antibodies in the immune system .
How can we include beets in our usual diet?
Beet is very versatile, you can include it in your salads, soups, purees or smoothies. I share a recipe of those that always work out well:
Ingredients (2-3 portions):
- 200g cooked beets
- 50g of col lombarda
- 40g bean sprouts
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 tomato
- 250ml vegetable stock
- Lemon juice
- Dried dill
- Ground black pepper
- Olive oil
Cut the cabbage, carrot, celery and onion into thin strips.
In a casserole with a little olive oil, sauté the onion. Add the cooked and drained beet, carrot, cabbage, celery and bean sprouts. Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Peel and chop the tomato, add it to the casserole. Saute a minute, add the vegetable stock, a splash of lemon juice and a little dill. Sprinkle to taste and cook, over medium heat, for about 40 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.