Beets are more interesting than you might think. While this humble root vegetable is often one kids reject at the dinner table, it is in fact a superfood that packs more punch than you could ever imagine.
The historic, nutritional, and culinary power of the beet might surprise you, especially if you aren’t a fan of its earthy flavour or vibrant colour. Since the days of Ancient Greeks and Romans, beets have been a staple root vegetable of many cultures, and for good reason: they’re packed full of antioxidants and other compounds that might be able to help you to fight both inflammation and aging.
Today, we’re take you on along on a journey to understand why and how beets came to be so revered. First, we’ll take a look at the storied history of the beet, then we’ll tackle the nutritional benefits that beet powder is packed with, and finally, we’ll discuss one of the most well-known culinary pairings you can find in one of our delicious HOLOS flavours–cocoa and beets.
An Inside Look at Beet History.
Beets as we know them today are descended from sea beats (B. maritima), which grew along the shores of the Mediterranean, Europe, and North Africa. Back then, beets looked a bit more like carrots, and were cultivated for their tasty leaves. (1)
By the days of Ancient Rome, beets had already reached a high status. After thousands of years of cultivation, this veggie had begun to finally resemble what we eat today. Not only was it grown to be eaten for both the leaves and the bulb itself, beets were also used in tea, dyes, and for medicinal purposes.
As the centuries wore on, beets stormed from their home in the Mediterranean and spread across Europe in the form we know it as today: the table beat. The aptly-named sugar beet, meanwhile, was discovered in the nineteenth century to have large concentrations of sugar, and was used as a replacement for sugarcane during Napoleon’s time, when sugarcane shipments were restricted by the British. It was also around this time that beets finally made their debut in the United States, and today, the US is the largest producer of beets in the world.
What are the Nutritional Benefits of Beets and Beet Powder?
The vibrant beet doesn’t just have a long history behind it–it has the nutritional staying power as well.
When eaten in its whole form, this superfood is a rich source of nutrients like fibre, minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, potassium, calcium, zinc and phosphorus, and vitamins such as folic acid, vitamins A, B6, niacin, and biotin. (2) However, the powdered form packs by far the best nutritional punch, and a study even showed that concentrating the nutrients in this manner led to higher levels of healthy organic compounds, like antioxidants, that the beet is full of. (3)
Speaking of antioxidants, the humble beet is a gold mine of them (4), such as phenolic acids, which are antioxidant compounds with antibacterial, antiviral, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Upping your phenolic acid intake can help control inflammation, boost your immune system, and improve blood circulation in order to fight aging. (5) Not to mention, beets can also have a positive effect on blood sugar–its flavinoids and fibres were shown to lower blood glucose in one study. (5)
A Match Made in Heaven: Cocoa and Beets.
If you’re convinced of the nutritional powers of the beet, it might be time to ensure you get a bit more in your diet. The flavour of beets works amazingly well with something you might not expect: cocoa. This pairing, often used in five-star culinary settings, balances amazingly well–the earthiness of the beets helps to balance out the sweetness of the cocoa, while offering a bit of unexpected flavour complexity that’ll make your mouth water.
The good news is, you don’t have to run out to your nearest fancy restaurant or bakery to try this pairing out yourself. Instead, pick up some of our new HOLOS COCOA, which features beet powder as one of the star flavour and nutritional ingredients. Not only will you find this pairing to be one of our tastiest yet, it also full of all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants we bragged about earlier.
The Unbeetable Beat.
No matter whether you love or loathe beets, one thing is for sure: this superfood can make a positive impact on your diet. And because beet powder itself is one of the best sources of antioxidant compounds, there’s no need to steam or boil your beets. A good source of beet powder is our delicious and nutrition-packed Cocoa Muesli, where you can experience the decadent flavour pairing of cocoa + beets. But no matter how you get your beets in, adding this ingredient into your diet is always a good choice.
1. History of the Beet; © Just Beet It 2022
2. Utilisation of beetroot powder for bakery applications;Kohajdová et al, 2018
3. Comparison of Total Antioxidant Potential, and Total Phenolic, Nitrate, Sugar, and Organic Acid Contents in Beetroot Juice, Chips, Powder, and Cooked Beetroot; Vasconcellos et al, 2016
4. Comparison of Total Antioxidant Potential, and Total Phenolic,Nitrate, Sugar, and Organic Acid Contents in Beetroot Juice, Chips, Powder, and Cooked Beetroot; Chhikara et al, 2019
5. Biological effects of red beetroot and betalains; Hadipour et al., 2020