The beet (Beta vulgaris); is probably the best known and most popular beet. Most have seen or grown the basic red or purple root vegetable known as the beetroot or garden beet, but there are other varieties such as sugar beets, sea beets, and spinach beets. All are valuable.
Beet remains have been excavated in Egypt, and have a long history of cultivation stretching way back to the second
millennium BC where they were domesticated somewhere along the
Mediterranean. They later spread to Babylonia by the 8th century BC and as far east as China by 850 AD. Beets have been a stable food for thousands of years due to their many important
minerals and micro-nutrients They are loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C as well as calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, sodium, and iron. The roots contain significant amounts of vitamin C, while the leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A, and are also high in folate, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber and
antioxidants. Beets offer a wealth of carbohydrates and are one of the best energetic foods. They are among the sweetest of vegetables as well, containing more
sugar even than carrots or sweet corn.
One of my favorite food uses of beets is to toss a chunk in the juicer with other fruits and greens. It's not one of my favorite veggies but non-the-less I know it's a valuable one. During each of my four pregnancies, I made sure to juice a piece of beet and it's greens daily for the iron and folate. I also really like the puree mixed in ranch dressing over a giant crispy salad.
Beets have been utilized for their medicinal properties since ancient times. The roots and leaves of the beet have been used in folk medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments, as they are considered beneficial to the blood (high in iron), heart, and digestive system. They have been regarded as a laxative; a cure for bad breath, coughs and headaches; and even as aphrodisiac. Recently beet root has been regarded as a cancer preventative and strengthener to the immune system, as well as a remedy for indigestion, acidity, gastritis and heartburn and is known to relieve other problems of food toxicity (improper diet and incomplete digestion), including skin problems, headaches and lethargy.
Medicinally, I recommend beet root both fresh and dried in powdered form to anyone including pregnant women and children for anemia, fatigue, those with high blood pressure, as a juice for fasting and detoxing, digestive aid, liver and kidney illnesses, cancer, and the skin and scalp.
Used externally, beetroot is also considered a cleanser that removes accumulated toxins from the body through the skin and has been used in poultices to draw poisons. It is also said to be good for glandular swelling and sore throat.
Remember, beets have long been known for their amazing health benefits for almost every part of the body and you can grow them or you can buy them it doesn't matter.....just as long as you eat them!
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.
Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.
Jessica Morgan, M.H.