The beet: More than just sports performance!
With the arrival of fall, apple, squash and pumpkin recipes immediately come to mind. However, this beautiful season has much more to offer in terms of fresh fruits and vegetables. Like beets for instance!
Quebec beets (red, yellow or long), are available almost year round, from mid-July to the end of May. Let’s discover the advantages of cooking more frequently with this vegetable, which seems to be associated with days of old and somewhat ignored by Quebecers.
The “PLUSs” of beets
Beets are one of the sweetest tasting vegetables, but ½ cup of cooked beets contains only 5 grams of carbs. In comparison, ½ cup of cooked carrots has about 7 grams of carbs and ½ cup of fresh raspberries has about 8 grams. Plus, this vegetable is an excellent source of potassium – it has more potassium than a banana!
Beets to beat your own record?
In the world of sports, we often hear that beets improve sports performance. The presence of nitrates in beets, which can be consumed as a concentrate in powder or juice form, would enable the muscles to perform the same task with less oxygen. However, these alleged effects have yet to be scientifically established: the data is conflicting. Focusing on the overall diet and training remains the best way to optimize sports performance.
Beets on the menu!
Cooking with beets enables us to eat locally grown vegetables all year long, to diversify and add color to our menu, and save money. In fact, a 5lb bag of whole red beets sells for around $5, or about $1 a pound. The wallet rejoices! And since they have a prolonged shelf life (properly stored, raw beets will last for about 14 days in the refrigerator), there is no reason to ignore them any longer.
Lack inspiration when cooking with beets? Yet, there are many ways to include them in our menu:
- In a cold or warm salads, like this one: Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Pecans;
- In carpaccio: slice the cooked beets with a mandolin, garnish to taste and drizzle with a vinaigrette (Psst! To impress your guests, use the magnificent Chioggia beet);
- Cut in quarters, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in the oven (add grated fresh ginger for an original and tasty touch);
- Quickly pickled or even as chips!
To optimize the use of beets, you can even cook their tops (stems and leaves). They are delicious pan-fried with butter, salt and pepper. The leaves can also replace spinach in your favourite recipes.
- Serge D’Amico. (2006). Encyclopédie visuelle des aliments (éd.). Québec Amérique.
- Gouvernement du Canada. (6 février 2018). Fichier Canadien sur les éléments nutritifs. Aliment et nutrition. https://aliments-nutrition.canada.ca/cnf-fce/newSearch-nouvelleRecherche.do?action=new_nouveau.
- Domínguez R, Cuenca E, Maté-Muñoz JL, García-Fernández P et al. Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017 Jan 6;9(1):43.