One of the most controversial food items on the Paleo diet are root vegetables, and since beets are a variety of them, there is often some confusion surrounding them as to whether or not they are permitted on the Paleo diet. It all stems from root vegetables being higher in carbohydrates but beets are actually made up of much more than just sugar, and for that reason, their health benefits far exceed the “negative effects” – if you can even call them that.
Beet The Carbs
Beets are rich in nutrients like potassium, phosphorous and magnesium which makes them a healthy option for many people – depending on how tolerant you are of carbs. In other words, you your body doesn’t handle high carbohydrate food items positively, you may want to pass on by past the beets. You must always consider your body with all dietary recommendations, Paleo or not.
Health Benefits of Beets
Aside from the delicious, sweet, rich, earthy flavor or this vibrant toned vegetable, there are also many excellent health benefits that follow. A half a cup of boiled beets has a mere 37 calories, and is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. In addition to the positive amounts of potassium, phosphorous and magnesium within beets, they are also a great source of fiber, Vitamin C, manganese and folate. The beetroot juice is also extremely beneficial, and has been shown to improve performance in athletes due to its sufficient amount of nitrate.
When shopping for beets, It’s best to buy them when they are nice and firm, sans any wrinkles. This is when they are at their peak of freshness. It is also beneficial to purchase beets that still have their stalks attached. Beets should be stored in a dark, cool place like any root vegetable and they will keep for several weeks this way as well. As for cooking them, there are an abundance of ways to do so as well. They can be boiled, grilled, roasted, steamed, peeled, and pickled. They can be added into a cold salad, or cooked whole. Each way does have a different kind of flavor and texture, just as any food does, so be sure to explore the varieties to see which ones you like the best.
If you don’t like beets, although this is hard to believe, there are many good Paleo substitutes such as carrots, turnips and parsnips. However, with all of the different ways that you can cook them, you are sure to find one that will get a healthy dose of beets in your diet.
To answer the question as to whether beets are Paleo, yes they are. Despite being a root vegetable, they are permitted and their nutritional value is a prime example of why this is. After all, the Paleo diet isn’t always just about what was hunted and gathered, but more so about the health that follows.