Eat Smarter Special


6. Beets vs. Carrots
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When it comes to “eating the rainbow,” beets and carrots are both excellent options. Both come in the same range of colors--beets can be orange, carrots purple--and pack a potent quotient of nutrients in their starchy flesh (and leafy green tops, which should be saved and cooked whenever possible). Both are good when raw (shaved into slaws and salads) or cooked (steamed, roasted, glazed, even grilled), and lend earthy sweetness to a variety of dishes, from juices and dips to soups and savory tarts; they can both be used in baking, too. Whereas beets and carrots are among the best sources of carotenoids and other phytochemicals, each root has its own bragging rights. Beets are especially rich in vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium, and are credited with boosting endurance and mental functioning (thanks to nitrates), improving blood pressure, aiding in digestion and detoxing your body (thanks to an amino acid called betaine), as well as fighting off chronic diseases (thanks to a class of phytonutrients called betalains). Carrots, of course, are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, which helps boost eye health and is believed to reduce the rates of leukemia and other types of cancer.