What Makes Beets Red?

Beets are a root vegetable that have been enjoyed for centuries. They are known for their sweet, earthy flavor and vibrant red color. But what makes beets red?

The Color of Beets

Beets get their red color from a pigment called betalain. Betalain is a type of plant pigment that is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including beets, Swiss chard, and rhubarb. Betalain is a type of antioxidant that is responsible for the red, purple, and yellow colors found in these foods.

Betalain is made up of two components: betacyanin and betaxanthin. Betacyanin is responsible for the red color of beets, while betaxanthin is responsible for the yellow color. The amount of betalain in beets can vary depending on the variety and the growing conditions.

The Health Benefits of Betalain

Betalain is not only responsible for the color of beets, but it also has a number of health benefits. Betalain is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the body from free radical damage. It can also help reduce inflammation and may even have anti-cancer properties.

Betalain is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. Beets are a good source of vitamin C, folate, and manganese. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, which can help keep you feeling full and may even help lower cholesterol levels.

How to Get the Most Out of Beets

Beets are best when they are fresh and in season. Look for beets that are firm and have a deep red color. Avoid beets that are soft or have any signs of mold.

When preparing beets, it is important to keep the skin on. The skin of beets is where most of the betalain is found, so it is important to keep it intact. Beets can be boiled, roasted, or steamed.

Beets can also be eaten raw. They can be grated into salads or juiced for a refreshing drink. Beets can also be pickled for a tangy flavor.

Conclusion

Beets are a root vegetable that are known for their sweet, earthy flavor and vibrant red color. The red color of beets comes from a pigment called betalain. Betalain is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the body from free radical damage and may even have anti-cancer properties. Beets are best when they are fresh and in season. They can be boiled, roasted, steamed, eaten raw, or pickled.