Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

And the Beet Goes On:
The Healthy, Delicious but Sometimes Ignored Beet

When beets were first discovered, they were coveted for their greens, not the sweet-tasting, crimson root that we associate with beets today. It wasn't until ancient Roman times that beets were cultivated and the root used for food -- and not until the 19th century that beets became a primary source of sugar and were brought to the United States.


Look for beets that have the greens still attached -- they're probably fresher, and the greens can be sautéed like spinach or Swiss chard.

Though beets do have a loyal following in the United States today -- and are an important raw material for the production of refined sugar (sugarbeets) -- they are often overlooked in favor of more common vegetables. Beets rarely make it to the dinner table in many American households, which is a shame because aside from their sweet, earthy flavor, beets are loaded with health-promoting nutrients.

Beets for Your Health

Though beets are high in sugar (they have the highest sugar content of all vegetables), they're low in calories and rich in powerful nutrients.

Fight Cancer

Betacyanin, the compound that gives beets their color, has potent cancer-fighting properties. A number of studies have shown that beets are effecting at fighting cancer, particularly colon cancer.

In one study, animals fed beet fiber had an increase in CD8 cells, which are immune cells that help detect and eliminate abnormal cells. The animals with increased CD8 cells were found to have fewer pre-cancerous changes than animals not fed beet fiber.

Prevent Heart Disease

In another animal study, animals with colon cancer and high cholesterol were split into two groups, one fed beet fiber and the other not. Animals fed beet fiber had an increase in antioxidant activity in the liver along with a:

  • 30 percent drop in total cholesterol

  • 40 percent drop in triglycerides (a risk factor for heart disease)

  • Increase in HDL (good) cholesterol

Rich in Nutrients


Beets can be roasted along with other vegetables, grated raw onto a salad, or boiled and eaten as a tasty side dish.

Beets are an excellent source of folate, manganese, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and iron, and in natural health circles are valued for their ability to purify the blood and the liver.

How to Cook Beets

Fall is an ideal time to purchase beets, as their season is just wrapping up. You can find beets in the traditional crimson color, or you can choose a yellow, orange, or red and white variety. Look for small- or medium-sized bulbs, as they tend to be sweeter and tenderer than larger bulbs. Ideally, choose beets that still contain the greens -- they're a good indicator of freshness, and the greens can be cooked up like spinach or Swiss chard for a tasty and healthy side dish.

To avoid the color bleeding out when cooking beets, cut off the green tops but leave about an inch of stem at the top and the root attached at the bottom. You can leave the beets whole and boil, roast, steam or bake them, then peel the beets after they're cooked.

Beets can also be eaten raw, grated or diced on top of salads or soups. And, for a different twist for your dinner tonight, try out these simple and healthy beet recipes.

Roasted Beets


  • 12 beets, peeled and halved or quartered
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 scallions


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. Place the beets on a large baking pan and toss with the oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to the oven and roast until tender and browned, about 1-1/2 hours.
  4. Add the butter and garnish with the scallions.

Beets and Cream


  • 6 cooked beets peeled
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  1. Grate beets.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan; add flour and blend. Stir in vinegar, salt, sugar, and caraway seed.
  3. Add beets.
  4. Cook over high heat 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir in sour cream.
  6. Serve at once.

Recommended Reading

The 11 Healthiest Autumn Fruits and Vegetables

Potatoes: Once and For All, Are America's Favorite Vegetables Good for You or Not?


The World's Healthiest Foods


To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This