The beet (Beta Vulgaris) originated in the Mediterranean, and its history predates written records. Moreover, the writings of the neo-Babylonian era mention the beet and its health benefits. In addition, the Greeks noted it as one of the most valuable foods there was. The Romans after the Greeks also refer to beet health benefits, which include the ability to give additional energy and to relieve constipation.
Nearly two-thirds of all beets are canned and not sold or eaten fresh. Beets grow easily and can withstand frost quite well. You can even plant them 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.
You should plant beet seeds half an inch deep and about one inch apart. You should space the rows about twelve to eighteen inches apart. If you plant seeds too deep, this 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. You will need to thin them 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.
Facts About Beet Health Benefits
Beets also contain folic acid and other B vitamins, which doctors recommend for pregnant women as they may lower the risk of birth defects. The Encyclopedia of Healing Juices notes that beets and their juice help to build up the blood, renew its minerals and natural sugars, and also 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. Additionally, these studies demonstrate that beet juice and powder have slowed the development of cancerous tumors in some patients. Research has even established that beet greens contain high levels of iron, vitamins A and C, and calcium.
Throughout history, physicians have used beetroots for treatment of liver disorders due to the 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 that the fibers in beets have a cleansing effect on the intestines, help to lower cholesterol, and aid in protecting against colon cancer.
Beets can complement many dishes and salads as a tremendous side dish or garnish. You can garner many beet health benefits simply by adding them to your diet. 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 mny of the same health benefits, and drinking it gives us another option for getting them into our diet.
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