Beets are a unique vegetable as both the root and leaves are typically consumed. They originated in North Africa, and along Asian and European seashores. Cultivated by the Romans, beets were spread throughout the eastern hemisphere by invading tribes. Perhaps one of beets best uses is in the production of sugar. During the Napoleonic wars, when Britain restricted the trade of sugar with France, Napoleon declared beets to be the primary source of sugar instead.
· Beet greens are higher in nutritional value than the root.
· Beets are rich in calcium, iron, Vitamins A and C.
· Beet roots are a great source of folic acid, fiber, manganese and potassium.
· Beet greens provide the body with magnesium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B6.
· Beets have been used for centuries as a treatment for various liver conditions.
· Anticancer properties have been found in the pigment, betacyanin, which give beets their vibrant color.
· Betacyanin has been proven to help protect against colon cancer.
· Beets are shown to have favorable effects in regards to bowl functions and cholesterol levels.
· Fiber from beets can increase levels of antioxidant enzymes, increasing the number of white blood cells that are responsible for eliminating abnormal cells.
Because the whole vegetable can be consumed, beets make an extremely versatile addition to your regular diet. Beet greens can be used in place of lettuce as a fun departure from the average salad. Beetroots are an excellent side dish raw, roasted, or sautéed. If you are a fan of juicing, consider throwing in a beet next time.