Beets contain a special kind of fiber called galactooligosaccharide (or GOS). GOS stimulates growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in the colon. These microorganisms are important anchors in the microbiome for many reasons, one of which is that they maintain the mucosal membrane. This helps to maintain a healthy ecosystem in the gut and prevent proliferation of "bad bugs" that can cause digestive symptoms and other health problems.
Not everyone is a big fan of the earthy taste of beets, so here's some good news: you don't have to eat beets to get GOS. GOS can be found in legumes, brassicas, sourdough bread, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
This Citrus Beet Salad is best enjoyed during the winter months when citrus fruits are in their peak.
Makes 4-6 servings
- 4 medium beets
- 1-2 grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments
- 1/2 small red onion, cut into thin slices
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Scrub the beets to clean off any dirt. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until the beets are easily pierced with a fork (about 30-45 minutes depending on size).
- While you're waiting for the beets to cook, mix together the grapefruit segments, red onion, lemon juice and olive oil. The acid from the citrus will mellow the bite of the onion. Cover and refrigerate.
- When the beets are cooked, remove them from heat. Refrigerate until cool enough to handle.
- Slip the skins off the beets with your hands or with a paring knife.
- Cut in half and then into half moons.
- Mix beets with the citrus, onion mixture and season with salt and pepper.
This is a recipe that gets better marinating in the refrigerator for a day or two. Enjoy at room temperature or served over a handful of arugula or butter lettuce.
Jesse Haas, CNS, LN is a licensed functional nutritionist and certified health coach. She was a founding partner of Wellness Minneapolis and was an active practitioner with the clinic from 2014-2022. To connect with her regarding functional nutrition and health coaching services, please follow this link.