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Beets: A Superfood




Every fall, I plant beets from the same 1-pound packet of seeds I bought five years ago. The seeds live in the freezer until I need them. I soak them in distilled water for an hour then plant them. In about a week, I see tiny seedlings. Soon enough there are vibrant green leaves.


Why beets? With their earthy flavor and tendency to turn urine pink, they aren’t among the most popular of garden vegetables, but in terms of nutrients, they are a superfood.



Eat a beet and you will be consuming fiber, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants. Beets have tryptophans and betalains. Tryptophans and betalains can help relax the mind and provide a sense of well-being.


Betalains give beets their distinctive color and are often used as a natural color additive in food. What many people do not know, is that betalains are not just a pretty color. These amino acids are amazing! They help support the body's natural detox process. Betalains can reduce caner risk. They have anti-tumor activity as well as reducing oxidative stress. Overall, beets may protect your heart, lower your blood pressure and make you feel good.


There are a couple of drawbacks—1) too many beets may affect blood pressure in someone who already has low blood pressure and/or is taking blood pressure medication, and 2) beets are high in oxalates which can cause kidney stones in people who are at high risk.


I prefer my beets cooked. I wash them, cut off the leaves (which can be cooked like spinach or chard) and tap roots, then, while they are still damp, wrap them in foil so that in addition to roasting, there is steam in the packet which I think keeps them moist. I roast them an hour at 400 degrees, let them cool, then slip the outer skin off. I tried roasting them without the foil, but they were dry and shriveled. Maybe I cooked them too long. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of beets.

I dice them, add salt, pepper and vinegar and they are ready to eat. I’ve tried using them other ways including shredding them raw and putting them in salads but find I don’t enjoy them that way. I have also freeze dried them.



Beets are easy to grow. The planting season in Arizona is September through the beginning of March. They like loose, well-drained soil.


I’ve about used up my fall planting. Today, I’m planting for spring.


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