According to historical records, "beetroots" were actually cultivated originally for the leaves, and not necessarily the root itself, even though both were used for different purposes. (Thousands of years ago, beets supposedly resembled more of a carrot, than the more bulbous root vegetable cultivated in modern times.) The leaves are also highly nutritious, and were used for medicinal purposes as well, dating back to the ancient Egyptian and Roman Empires! The Romans used beets for wound care, a laxative, aphrodisiac, and treatment of constipation, fevers, and other health issues.
Remains of some charred beets dated to the Neolithic era, (otherwise known as the "Stone Age), were found during archaeological digs in the area now known as the Netherlands, and it is difficult to determine if the beets of this ancient era were wild or domesticated forms of the Beta vulgaris subspecies.
Have you ever wondered why the Russians are a healthier population, and live longer? Borscht is a traditional Russian soup containing beets, but this same type of soup is also found in the culture of other surrounding countries. Russians consume a much higher amount of beets than most countries. They also drink a fermented beet juice called "Kvass"- which is a well-known health tonic made of stale rye or sourdough bread and beet juice. The dark "red" color, (sometimes more of a magenta), comes from a powerful phytonutrient called betalain. These betalains contained in beets are powerful sources of antioxidants. They are very important key sources for anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support in our bodies.
Here are some amazing benefits of adding beets to your diet:
**They are a legit aphrodisiac!
***Excellent for preventing many types of cancer, (some studies have even touted that consuming a higher amount of beets actually has aided in the treatment of certain cancers.)
***Purifies the blood by removing toxins.
***Aids in healthy liver function
**Aids in lowering blood pressure, and is excellent for mental health
**High source of energy
**Aids in digestive health
***Excellent for joint issues, protection of internal organs, fights inflammation, aids in prevention of cardiovascular, and other chronic diseases.
**High in Vitamin C, B folate, manganese, potassium, and fiber.
There are some different kinds of beets, including a "Gold" variety that is actually yellow called "Burpee Golden", as well as a really cool red and white beet called "Chioggia". No matter the type of beet, or whether you enjoy the greens and stems as well in your next salad, (or on a sandwich), these are an excellent vegetable to add to your diet. You can enjoy them raw with a beautiful citrus vinaigrette, or cooked and roasted as a vegetable, or in soups, desserts, etc. Beets can be found in many produce sections all year-round, but the optimum growing season is between June and October.