Move over kale! Make room quinoa. This past year, at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE)™, the world’s largest annual meeting of food and nutrition professionals, it was declared that beet is the next food trend. Let’s discuss some of the amazing benefits of this superfood.
- Increases Nitric Oxide Availability: The natural nitrate in beet assists in increasing nitric oxide production and availability. This results in decreased incidences of hypertension and increased endothelial function and athletic endurance.
- Reduces Inflammation: Beet is also one of the few vegetables that contain a group of highly bioactive pigments known as betalains; they have been studied to have high antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory capabilities.
- Possible Cognitive Improvement: Preliminary human studies have shown improved brain and memory function with supplementation of beetroot juice in subjects’ diets. Although more studies are needed, the results are promising.
- Rich in Nutrients: Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects during pregnancy.
If you’re looking for what to do with those beautifully colored veggies when you see them in-season within the grocery stores, here’s two tried and true recipes our dietitian loves!
Beet & Goat Cheese Hummus:
- 1 large beet
- 1 can chickpeas
- 2 lemons
- 1⁄4 cup tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- Scrub the beet and chop into large cubes.
- Bake in aluminum foil or on a baking tray at 400°F until soft enough to pierce with a fork (about 25-30 minutes). Allow the beet to cool.
- In a food processor combine the beet (and any juices you were able to reserve), the rinsed chickpeas*, juice from two lemons, tahini paste, salt and goat cheese. Pulse until well blended. Now while the food processor is running drizzle in the olive oil. Blend until smooth.
*Tip: I like to remove the skins of the chickpeas to create a smoother texture hummus.
Recipe adapted from: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/04/beet-and-goat-cheese- hummus.html
Beet Glazed Salmon:
- 1 1⁄2 pound of salmon
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute
- 1 medium beet, diced small
Rice pilaf, mashed sweet potatoes or your favorite whole grain alternative
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Place salmon skin side down. Sprinkle with salt.
- In a small saucepan, combine orange juice, lemon juice, sugar and beet. Cook over medium heat until mixture starts to thicken, about 5 to minutes. Strain liquid into small bowl.
- You can reserve beets for another use or add to optional side dish after adding seasoning to taste.
- Brush salmon with glaze and roast in oven for 15 minutes. Salmon should be firm and flaky. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Eating Well. November/December 2014.
Clifford T, Howatson G, West DJ, Stevenson EJ. The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease. Nutrients. 2015;7(4):2801-2822; DOI:10.3390/nu7042801.
Edited by: Lindsey Traudt, LCPC