Beets are one of nature’s most powerful healers. Unfortunately, they’re not at the top of most people’s favorite foods list due to their earthy flavor and seemingly limited usage. However, beets are more diverse than meets the eye and can be consumed in both sweet and savory dishes as well as in many different forms and textures. They are potent healers and can accelerate your health goals with each bite.

Beets have traditionally been used around the world for their healing properties as well as to highlight regional cuisine. In the Ukraine, beets are used in a popular soup called borscht; in Indian cuisine, beets are chopped, cooked and spiced to make a popular side dish; in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, beets are often pickled; the Pennsylvania Dutch refrigerate hard-boiled eggs in the liquid left over from pickling beets until the eggs acquire a deep red color; in Poland, beets are combined with horseradish to accompany meat and potatoes.

Beets contain a cancer-fighting pigment betacynin, which is also responsible for providing the root vegetable with its reddish-violet color. Beets are packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A, B and C, beta-carotene, beta-cyanine, and folic acid. These attributes make beets helpful in preventing cancer–particularly in reducing the risk of developing colon cancer. They’re aslo useful in averting heart and liver disease, staving off lung and skin cancer, and diminishing the incidence of tumors among animals by 30 percent. The folic acid in beets is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells, which benefit pregnant women and those undergoing physical healing. Because of their liver-cleansing properties, beets detoxify the blood, strengthen the gall bladder, and can be used to treat acne.

My favorite way to enjoy beets is when they are roasted, during which their natural sugars develop and caramelize. The result is a dish that requires nothing but a smidgen of butter and a dash of salt for ultimate comfort. Other ways to incorporate beets into your diet include as a salad, aperitif, soup, hummus, burger, or cake. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: gratinee