We may not think of beets as one of the nutritional powerhouses of the vegetable world, but give those little red guys credit! Due to their bright red color, beets are an excellent source of antioxidants and seem especially important in preventing macular degeneration, the most common form of blindness in the elderly. They also may play a role in protecting us from a variety of cancers. In addition to their antioxidant role, beets are a good source of folic acid. There's been renewed interest in folic acid in the past few years because of its important role in preventing heart disease as well as its crucial role in preventing neural tube defects in children. The RDA for folic acid was recently increased to 400 mcg for adults and 800 mcg per day for pregnant women.

Add 1/2 cup raw sliced beets to your salad, and you add only 29 calories. But that 29 calories packs a nutritional wallop: 2 grams of fiber, 0 fat, 74 mcg folic acid (that's 19% of your daily requirement right there!), and as much potassium as one banana!


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