The beet has a long history of cultivation stretching back to the second millennium BC. The plant was probably domesticated somewhere along the Mediterranean, whence it was later spread to Babylonia by the 8th century BC and as far east as China by 850 AD. Available evidence, such as that provided by Aristotle and Theophrastus, suggests the leafy varieties of the beet were grown primarily for most of its history, though these lost much of their popularity much later following the introduction of spinach. The ancient Romans considered beets an important health food and an aphrodisiac.
The beet became highly commercially important in 19th century Europe following the development of the sugar beet in Germany and the discovery that sucrose could be extracted from them, providing an alternative to tropical sugar cane. It remains a widely cultivated commercial crop for producing table sugar.
Beets contain many important nutrients, including calcium, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, folic acid, iron, niacin, Vitamins B-5, B-6 and C – a powerful antioxidant (the leaves contain more Vitamin C than the roots).
Beets are great for cardiovascular health, as they contain glycine betaine, which lowers homocysteine levels within the blood – this inhibits platelet clotting and lowers plaque formation in the blood vessels. The potassium found in beets will lower heart rate, and counteracts too much sodium in the blood. The cells of the body work on an intricate balance of sodium, potassium and water. An imbalance in any of these can cause cellular death.
Don’t throw the greens out, as they contain flavonoids, Vitamin A and carotenoids, more so than the root of the plant. Flavonoids are cancer fighters. Vitamin A is essential for good vision, and maintaining mucus membranes, also great for your skin. Carotenoids have many physiological functions; most importantly, they are free radical scavengers.
The folic acid in beets contributes to DNA synthesis within the cells.
The powerful nutrients in beets cleanse the colon, the gallbladder and the liver. Studies have shown that beets are powerful anti-cancer vegetables, particularly for colon and lung cancer.
Remember, antioxidant means anti-aging; eating beets daily can halt or even reverse the aging process!
How do you eat beets?Many people enjoy the benefits of raw beets through juicing. You can juice the whole beet, root and leaves, thereby obtaining the full benefit of the plant. Juice about a quart of beets, then add apple juice or carrot juice or other ingredients. Beet juice is powerful – it will begin detoxing you immediately; add only a couple of ounces to your glass.
Beets can be cooked in a soup (borscht), baked, steamed or even pickled (substitute Stevia for sugar for the healthiest version of pickled beets)!
Sue Mount is the co-owner of Perfect Waters, LLC. She is an energy healer and provides testing services and alternative health consulting.
Thank you for your interest in the article The Many Benefits of Beets
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