Valentine’s Day is over, but we’re still riding the “red” train! The best part of the day for us (we all agreed) was giving and receiving treats. However, it may be time to trade in your sugar goodies for nature’s sweet veggie instead. Beets are officially in season and the delicious, hearty, root vegetable is surprisingly easy to bake with. It is so versatile and totally adds another dimension to your menu plan. For example, use a mandolin slicer to slice them paper thin and bake them with olive oil and a dash of celery salt. Or, cut them into cubes and toss them together with sweet potatoes for oven-roasted goodness. (They are both very sweet and are the perfect couple in February.) Intrigued? Learn more about the health benefits of this hearty vegetable below. See something yummy? Click on the recipe link below any image to start cookin’!
Get an Energy Boost With Beets
Have you fallen in love with chia seeds yet? Take a look at our chia seed pudding article for health benefits and tasty recipes. You’ll find this little powerhouse packs twice the potassium of bananas, 7 times more Vitamin C than an orange, and 3 times more iron than spinach. Add the energy benefits of improved blood flow from beets and you’re ready to start your morning! Increased blood flow also benefits your brain and reduces the risk of dementia. Unless you have a secret fantasy of developing Alzheimer’s (names omitted to protect the innocent), it’s worth adding some red to your diet!
Improve Your Veggie Dip
Hummus has been a star player on the hors d’oeuvres scene, thanks to it’s high-iron, low cholesterol properties. Adding beets to your hummus does more than make it fancy; it boosts the protein power of the dip with its extra dose of iron. It’s easy to make at home and turns a boring veggie platter into something interesting. It’s also very high in potassium, which is a difficult mineral to get the daily value of. Potassium is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function, so if you’re hitting the gym hard, they are a perfect protein companion.
Winterize Your Salad
In December, we started experimenting with the spices and flavors of Winter Smoothies. A salad can be enhanced as well, by using winter fruits and veggies, such as beets and blood oranges. Beets are also incredibly high in immune-boosting Vitamin C, which turns a winter salad into tasty preventative care. Use salad dressings that are richer in flavor and use ingredients like mustard and balsamic vinegar. The combination of a tangy homemade dressing with the sweetness of the salad makes staying well easy!
Sipping Smoothies Through a Straw
Earlier this year, we started drinking our greens with a low-sugar green smoothie recipe that we created. The sweetness of that smoothie comes from strawberries, which are very low-glycemic. After drinking that green smoothie all month, we are super excited to introduce beets, which are also low in calories. They have the highest sugar content of all the veggies, but they are extremely low in fat and cholesterol. An excellent source of fiber, they are a great way to start of your morning if you aren’t going to eat your oatmeal.
Switch Out Your Tomato Soup
If you’re a big tomato soup fan, you will probably enjoy this little recipe twist. Puree cooked beets and potatoes for a cozy soup that is packed with minerals. Both vegetables contain generous doses of magnesium, which is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in adults. We first found the anti-anxiety benefits of magnesium when we started soaking in Epsom salt baths (give it a try!). Add copious amount of potassium and phosphorus (which works with calcium to help bone health) and you’ve got yourself quite a lunch! Phosphorus also helps convert food into energy and is good for your metabolism. Root vegetables are so good for you, because they are packed with the essential minerals that help you look and feel your best.
Not Your Average Grilled Cheese
Since we’re on the tomato soup subject, it would only be right to bring up a new twist on the grilled cheese sandwich. Beets are wonderful in a grilled cheese, especially when you’re using a softer, sweeter cheese like goat cheese. As we mentioned earlier, beets are high in calcium and phosphorus. Using them in a cheese sandwich gives your bones and teeth a double dose of their much-needed nutrients. Got a thing for goat cheese? Try our blackberry and arugula salad recipe for an addictive meal that tastes like dessert. We won’t mention the fact that arugula is said to be an aphrodisiac. .
Adding a handful of root vegetables to the mix gives you energy and helps you feel fuller longer. You might want to slip a few into your partner’s diet, since beets are also known to improve sexual stamina. (Yes, we know, we saved the best information for last.) Researchers have been finding that drinking beet juice balances the oxygen use that allows your body to tap in on your energy and stamina wisely. Advocates report higher sex drives and improved sexual function. So carry that Valentine’s Day love through the rest of the month! Mother Nature sure has a sense of humor about some seasons.