The beetroot also commonly known as the garden beet, red beet, golden beet or just simply beets, offer more than their earthy, sweet taste. Beets are used in a variety of cuisines worldwide. In Eastern Europe, beet juice (in its fermented form) is used as a base for a popular soup known as borscht. In Poland and Ukraine, a relish known as cwikla is made with a combination of beets and horseradish and in Northern Germany, mashed beets or labskaus is a popular side dish. Australia uses pickled beets as a condiment in their hamburgers while the Pennsylvanian Dutch use the juice as a pickling agent for eggs.
Aside from the various methods of preparation, beets are also quite nutrient dense; high in dietary fiber, rich in folate and manganese and contain vitamins A and C along with many other essential nutrients. This is the main reason why beets are so beneficial and should be a regular addition to most people’s diets (in moderation, of course). However, two considerations should be made with the overconsumption of beets. Beets are high in oxalates, which can form small crystals and contribute to the development of kidney stones and the buildup of uric acid in the system. So keep this in mind if you are prone to developing kidney stones or gout.
Beets Benefit #1: Folate
Folate is an essential B vitamin plays a vital role in various functions in the body and can help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and strokes. Because it is not found naturally in many of the foods that the “American” diet are comprised of, many foods are fortified with folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) to prevent deficiency. Unfortunately, many of the fortified foods are refined starches like breads, breakfast cereals and flour. Even more, many will take folic acid as a dietary supplement. Because of its importance in supporting normal fetal development, this is especially required for women before and during pregnancy.
Folate is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens. Beets not only contain folate, they are quite rich in it. 1 cup of raw beets contains approximately 37% of the recommended daily intake of folate. The addition of 1 cup of beet greens (the leafy greens attached to the root), will add another 6 mcg of folate. This means that adding beets and beet greens regularly to your diet can provide a substantial amount of your daily requirements for folate and more importantly, getting your intake from a natural source rather than the fortified (and unhealthier) food choices.