These nutritious root vegetables come in a rainbow of colors (seriously, they’re not just fuchsia). Whether red, pink, white, orange, or chioggia (their insides are striped white and red), beets are a deliciously versatile vegetable you can enjoy roasted, pureed, or eaten raw. Beets also offer a variety of vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A, B, and C, beta-carotene, and folic acid. Naturally-occurring nitrates in beets can widen blood vessels, reduce the amount of oxygen your muscles need to perform, lower your blood pressure, and increase stamina, according to research from the University of Exeter. “Choose beets that are firm and smooth; if the beets still have their leaves attached, look for greens that are bright and spry,” Romano says. “And don’t wash beets until you’re ready to use them, as this can water down the flavor,” he adds. When handling, use gloves so the color doesn’t stain your hands, or rub salt on your fingers after handling beets—it’ll take the dye right off.
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