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Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant should include vegetables, such as beets, to their diets as they are rich in folic acid and can help reduce the risk of birth defects. Beets also are high in Vitamin A which is an antioxidant.

Where are Beets Grown and How to Grow Them

Beets originate in the Mediterranean, although the history of beets goes further back before written records.  The root of the beet was used as medicine before it became a food item in the 1800’s used by the French chefs of the time.  Nearly two thirds of all beets that are commercially grown are canned and not sold fresh.

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Beets can withstand frost quite well and can be planted in home gardens a month before the last frost.  The delicate seeds of the beet do best when the soil is cool and moist; as the beet matures it does very well in warm conditions.  The state of California, in the United States produces a large quantity of beets per year for export and canning.  Beets are also grown on large acreages in Michigan.

Beets do best if planted in early spring, generally while the soil is still cool and moist.  It is suggested to plant beets in succession at three to four weeks apart to have a continuous supply of beets all summer long.  Beet seeds should be planted approximately a half inch deep and one inch apart; there should be a wide space of approximately twelve to eighteen inches between the rows.  Planting the seed too deep may cause the seed not to sprout as quickly.  Once the seeds begin to sprout they will often have multiple shoots; these will have to be thinned and placed one to three inches apart. 

Beets do not do well when in competition with weeds as their roots are generally shallow.  Hand weeding is essential to preserving the beets plants.  Beets are generally ready to be harvested approximately sixty days after planting.

Nutrients Found in Beets and Healthy ways to Prepare Beets

Beets are high in Folate or commonly known as folic acid which has been found to prevent birth defects as well as help to prevent heart disease as well as anemia.  The fiber content in beets is an excellent source to help maintain a healthy digestive system and prevention of constipation which may lead to hemorrhoids.  In an article released by the Harvard Medical School showed that a person can lower their bad cholesterol by five percent by changing their diet and adding foods, such as beets, that are high in soluble fiber.  

When preparing beets it is important not to cut the skin prior to cooking as this will cause the beet to bleed and lose a large part of the nutrients found in them.  Roasting beets is one of the healthiest ways as well as tasteful ways to prepare them; the sugar content in the beets makes them very sweet as well as nutritious.  Other healthy ways to prepare them is to steam them until tender, chill, and serve in a salad.  Steaming preserves the vitamins within the beets as well as releasing the sugar in the beets to make them sweet.  

Health Benefits of Beets

Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant should include vegetables, such as beets, to their diets as they are rich in folic acid and can help reduce the risk of birth defects.  Beets also are high in Vitamin A which is an antioxidant and helps to rid the body of damaging free radicals that cause significant cellular damage and are thought to cause various types of cancer.  Dietary fiber is important for a healthy digestive system and beets are an excellent source of this fiber, both soluble and non soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber is important in helping to lower the bad cholesterol which is a leading cause of hypertension and heart disease. 

Adding beets to your diet is both a healthy choice and a tasty choice; because beets can be prepared so many different ways, served hot or cold, they are a perfect vegetable for any diet.