lightly sauté them and serve as a side dish.
As with all fruits and vegetables, beet greens are a rich source of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and
other phytochemicals. In particular, 1 cup of cooked beet greens provides almost 80% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for vitamin A which has an important role in the reproduction, vision and immune systems of the body.
It also provides more than 10 times the RDI for vitamin K to assist with healthy blood clotting as well as a significant amount of folate which is required as a coenzyme for several metabolic reactions as well as DNA synthesis and amino acid interconversions. A single cup serving also provides approximately one third and almost half of the RDI for magnesium and potassium respectively. Magnesium is required as a cofactor for more than 300 different enzymatic reactions within the body, whilst potassium is known to contribute to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease by opposing the hypertensive effects of sodium (Wilson et al 1999 and Liu et al 2011). It is also a significant source of iron (2.7mg per cup; RDI for men is 8mg and 18mg for women), however being a plant source (non-haeme iron), it is best to consume with a source of vitamin C (e.g. citrus, broccoli, capsicum etc) to increase absorption and bioavailability. Alternatively, serving beet greens as a side dish to a meat containing meal, will also increase iron absorption. (USDA National Nutrient Database 2011 and NHMRC Nutrient Reference Values for
It is also important to note that many of these nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning they need to be consumed in the
presence of fat to be properly absorbed by the body (hence the rationale for using macadamia nut oil in the recipe below).
Next time you’re buying a fresh bunch of beetroot why not try out the following spring-inspired recipe and let me know what you think.
Lightly Sautéd Beet Greens
Beet greens from one bunch fresh beetroot
1-2 tbs macadamia nut oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash the beet greens to remove any loose dirt. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and add the garlic.
Cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the beet greens.
Saute until the greens have wilted down. Add the lemon zest in the final few minutes of cooking. Season with
salt and pepper and serve.
Liu et al (2011), ‘Potassium supplement ameliorates salt-induced haemostatic abnormalities in normotensive subjects’, Acta Cardiol, 66(5):635-639.
Wilson et al (1999), ‘Effects of potassium on blood pressure in salt-sensitive and salt-resistant black adolescents’, Hypertension, 34(2):181-186.