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Health Benefits Of Red Beets

History

Beets (Beta Vulgaris) originated in the Mediterranean, and their history predates written history. Beets and their health benefits are mentioned in the writings of the neo-Babylonian era. It was noted by the Greeks as one of the most valuable foods there was. They and the Romans after them mentioned their health benefits, which included their abilities to give additional energy and to relieve constipation.

Growing Beets

Nearly two thirds of all beets are canned and not sold or eaten fresh. Beets grow easily and can withstand frost quite well. They can even be planted in gardens one month before the last frost of winter. The seeds of the beet are delicate and do best when the soil is cool and moist, as in early spring. They mature quickly and do well when planted in succession, three to four weeks apart. Seeds should be planted half an inch deep and about one inch apart. Rows should be spaced about twelve to eighteen inches apart. Planting seeds too deep may cause the seed to sprout more slowly. As the beets mature, they do quite well in warm weather conditions. When the seeds begin to sprout they often have multiple shoots. They will need to be thinned out so that they are one to three inches apart. Beets do not thrive well when they have to compete with weeds, as their roots are usually shallow. Weeding by hand is essential to preserving the young plants. Harvest time is about sixty days after planting.

Beet Facts

Most people do not eat enough beets; for all of their healthy properties, they should be a part of our daily diet. In 100 grams this red veggie has only 42 calories, less than 10 grams of carbohydrates, and is thought to be the most perfect form of fiber we can eat. One cup of beets has zero fat of any kind, contains 1.5 grams of protein, 1 mg of iron, 27 mg of calcium, 43 mg of phosphorus, 10 mg of vitamin C, and 4 mg of niacin, sodium, and magnesium, as well as fiber, vitamin A, and biotin. Beets also contain folic acid and other B vitamins, which are  recommended for pregnant women as it may lower the risk of birth defects. In the Encyclopedia of Healing Juices, beets and their juice are noted to build up the blood, renew its minerals and natural sugars, and help to detox the liver. Some studies even show that betaine, an amino acid found in beets, can help prevent coronary and cerebral artery disease and that beet juice and powder have slowed the development of cancerous tumors in some patients. Beet greens have been shown to contain high levels of iron, vitamins A and C, and calcium.

Throughout history beetroots have been used for treatment of liver disorders due to their stimulating effect they have on the detoxification process. Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their rich crimson-purple hue, helps with the detox and is a cancer-fighting agent. Studies have found the fibers in beets have a cleansing effect on the intestines, helps to lower cholesterol and help protect against colon cancer.

While discussing the benefits of eating beets, we can’t forget their ability to reduce the risks of having cataracts due to their high content of beta-carotene. Betanin, another pigment in beets, also has anti-inflammatory properties and can effectively lower the effects of stress. Some have noticed that while taking beetroot juice they had more success in fighting headaches, pain associated with a women’s menstrual cycle, pain in the lumbar region, toothache, and skin problems.

Conclusion

Beets can compliment many dishes and salads as a tremendous side dish or garnish. Add beets to your diet to garner their many health benefits. They can be prepared in a variety of ways and are delicious either hot or cold. Ever have a bowl of borscht? Try it—you may find a new way to add more beets to your eating program. The juice has many of the same health benefits, and drinking it gives us another option for getting them into our diet.

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7 comments

  1. A general rule of health is that the more colorful a natural food, fruit or vegetable is, the better it is for you. This is true of two of our most polluted foods (blueberries and strawberries) and so I would expect it would be so with beets. In my 2006 autobiography (recently updated), LEAVING SOUTH CAROLINA, in addition to the usual about murder, suicide, kidnapping (me at age two), I wrote a bit about nutrition and actually gave some statistics on how fruits and vegetables don’t have the vitamins and minerals in them that they used to have when we were children. In one 25 page chapter on the economy I also warned about the then coming stock market crash and many of the things that are now happening including the soon coming (in a couple of years) Great Los Angeles Earthquake. I recommended buying gold if one could afford it at 600 an ounce and expanding ones garden or beginning one if one didn’t have one. We are living in one of the most interesting times in the history of the world and much of the information on this site is helpful for those who want to survive what I called, THE LAST DAYS OF THE LATE GREAT UNITED STATES and The Great Famine that Followed, my latest book. That may be a ways down the road but I fully expect food prices to TRIPLE in the next couple of years so learning all you can about gardening, food storage, and such like will only be a blessing. I haven’t tried growing beets before but now I will. Keep up the good work and God bless you!

  2. thank you for the interesting, informative & useful article on beets. i have always enjoyed beets [beet & onion salad, harvard beets] alone b/c the color was a deterrent to adding them to soups & stews. the color would add an unwanted dimension to other foods. recently i’ve seen yellow beets in the markets & i have wondered if they too, contain the same nutritional properties as the red variety. if they, indeed, are nutritionally close, i would then feel comfortable adding them to soups & stews & kabobs. do you have that information to give out to the public? sincerely, marianne ricci-wilson

  3. I grew beets for the first time this year and have become totally addicted to beet greens. The tender new shoots are the best of all, of course, and fine for eating straight out of the garden or in salads. When I let them grow a bit bigger, I spread them with hummus and cooked turkey burger, roll them up, and have a tasty meal. The beets themselves never seem to make it as far as a cooking pan as I eat them raw as soon as they’re washed. My fall garden is going to have a larger planting, with more varieties.

  4. You should write an article about sugar beets, I read they can be boiled down and made into sugar – that would be a good addition to a survival garden.

  5. How does one reduce the “fertilizer taste” of the beet? I mean even with washing a peeling a beet, it still has a distinctive “fertilizer” odor.

  6. One you have tried beet tops .. including sugar beets growing out in the fields here in Idaho .. you will “throw rocks at spinach.” Picking in the fields .. watch for crop dusters in that field if you live near by .. only take one or two large leaves from each plant .. prepare them immediately is best.

    “The” most basic foundation of good health is PH. Acidic PH will kill you. Guess what? Beets take you Basic .. the opposite of acidic. My other top herbs: Echinacea tea ( I stopped a roaring case of Swine Flu with it); Garlic chopped up and swallowed whole, do not chew ( reduces radiation damage to live tissues by 70% – Garlic and You by Ben. Lau; Tamanu Oil fresh, shelf life 12 months, stops hay fever, the spread of Leprosy, stops systemic infections, blocks joint pain, clears sinuses, clears fast growing facial skin cancers .. when I go out to rake or bale hay I wear my ear plugs for diesel noise and put on Tamanu for my eyes and nose.

    Thanks for the great article .. I like the way you present things.

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