Beets!

November 3, 2017

 

 

 

Ok, Ok. Beets can be somewhat of an acquired taste. But for those who say they just don't like beets, maybe you just haven't tried the right preparation? Those jars and cans of pickled beets (YUK!!!!) in the grocery store can sometimes give the flavor of beets a bad name, so why not try a new recipe? Don't miss out on all of the incredible health benefits of this root!

 

Vitamins

Beets serve as a good source of folate, a B vitamin. Each serving of this vegetable contains 17 percent of the daily recommended intake of this vitamin based on a 2,000 calorie diet, which makes beets a good choice if you’re a woman planning to conceive -- folate helps prevent spinal birth defects. In addition, you take in 5 percent of the vitamin C you need each day and smaller amounts of vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid.

 

Minerals

Eat beets to boost your manganese intake. Each portion provides 14 percent of the amount of this mineral you require daily. Manganese keeps your brain and nerves functioning correctly and contributes to your body’s ability to make certain hormones and connective tissue. You consume 7 percent of the potassium you need every day, as well as 5 percent of the suggested intake for magnesium. Beets also contain calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium.

 

Colon Cancer Prevention Potential

Including beets in your meal plan may improve the health of your colon. An article on the Gayot website notes that betacyanin, a compound in beets, may provide protection against colon cancer. An animal study published in the June 2000 edition of the journal Nahrung correlates fiber from red beets with a reduction in precancerous cells, although it did not decrease the number of tumors. Human studies are needed to confirm these findings.

 

Considerations

Avoid eating beets if you suffer from kidney stones, small deposits formed from minerals and acid salts. Beets are high in oxalates, one of the substances most often found in these stones, along with calcium and uric acid. Kidney stones can be painful to pass from your body. While treatments exist, removing beets from your diet is a good preventive choice.

 

Here is a little history for your liking courtesy of JustBeetIt.com

 

Descended from the sea beet, B. maritima, a wild seashore plant growing around the Mediterranean and along the coasts of Europe and North Africa, the beet is a significant part of the world's history. The native sea beet was primarily eaten for its leaves rather than its root, which appears more like a skinny carrot than that of the modern, expanded beetroot we are familiar with in the 21st Century.

 

After thousands of years of domesticating and cultivating, the beetroot today is bigger and sweeter than its wild ancestor. Before the beet became popular as a main dish, the beet gained its fame for other uses. Since ancient times, the beet has been used for dyes, teas, and medicinal properties treating constipation, fevers, skin disorders, circulation, and even as an aphrodisiac (as recorded by Roman physicians and naturalists of the time).

 

During excavations, archaeologists discovered paintings of beetroots on the walls of lupanares (brothels) in ancient towns, preserved in ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.  The beetroot contains significant amounts of boron, which relates to the production of human sex hormones. 

 

Prior to Romans cultivating the plant for its roots, the leaves were consumed, and the root was used more medicinally than for consumption; however, by the Roman era, the beets were cultivated to larger, sweeter bulbs.

 

In The Art of Cooking, Apicius (about 1st Century A.D..), a Greek chef, shares the diversity of the beet, by using it in broths and as a side dish served with vinegar, mustard, and oil. In later centuries, the cultivation of beets spread throughout Europe and Asia. Around the 16th Century, the garden, or table beet (the one we are most familiar with today) was cultivated and consumed in Europe. 

 

In the nineteenth century, the beet became famous for its high concentration of sugar (the table beet and sugar beet are different varieties), and the first sugar beet factory was developed in Poland. When sugarcane was restricted by the British, Napoleon utilized beets as the leading source of sugar. Around this time, beets were brought to the United States. Currently, the leading commercial producers of beets include the United States (Wisconsin and New York), Poland, France, Russia, and Germany.  Beet sugar may have contributed in helping end the Caribbean slave trade, as its popularity provided an alternative to sugarcane crops harvested by slaves. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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