PROPERTIES OF BEETS
CHARACTERISTICS OF COMMON BEET
What is common beet?
Common beet (Beta vulgaris) it is a plant of of the goosefoot family( Chenopodiaceae) It comes from the south of Europe and, according to the most widespread opinion, from Italy.
It derives from the wild species Beta maritima Linn that grows freely in many marine areas of the south of Europe and north of Africa. This species is not eatable and it has been only used as a medicinal plant.
Common beet was used in old times, when people did not only consume its root but the leaves too. These have a flavor similar to the spinach. People in France still eat them nowadays. It was in the XIX century when its use as food was abandoned and it was fundamentally exploited for the production of sugar or the extraction of alcohol.
Varieties of common beet
Several beet varieties exist, among those the most outstanding ones are the red and the white beet. Both are very rich in sugar which is much more assimilable that that of the sugar cane.
They are also very rich in starch. Both possess eatable roots and their leaves can be used as a a vegetable.
Being much more flavorful, the red beet is the one that is generally dedicated to human feeding as, while the white one is dedicated fundamentally to the production of sugar or the animal feeding.
Medicinal properties of beet root
From a dietetic point of view, the red beet is the most interesting beet variety because of its medicinal properties. It is know as a potent anticancerous food, a virtue that derives from its wealth in flavonoids, mainly because of the red pigment betaine.
It has been demonstrated that the ingestion of this plant inhibits and prevents the appearance or the growth of cancerous tumors, just as the Hungarian doctor Alexander Frerenegi verified in its experiments carried out with animals and people. Those who ate a lot of beet developed many less tumors than those that didn't do it. Also, cancerous people improved and resisted more time to the illness if they ate raw beet or its powder. Therefore, it is very interesting to eat this food raw in combination with other plants that help to purify the organism and to prevent this terrible illness: tomatoes, onions or cucumbers, for example. For its content in folate is ideal to prevent heart illnesses.
Beet juice properties
Beets are also ideal to prepare juices, blended with other fruits like apples or vegetables like carrots. It is very appropriate for those who suffer retention of liquids, so that obese or arthritic people should habitually eat it. It is also very interesting for those who simple seek to reduce weight.
It does not only purify kidneys, but also blood because, being an alkalinizing food, it helps to eliminate acidity from our body and can also help our liver in its depurative function, a fact that makes it very interesting for liver illnesses.
Caloric content of beets
For its wealth in carbohydrates it is a very energetic food, although very easily assimilable. It should be consumed in combination with other vegetables, avoiding those with very caloric content, specially those rich in starch. Whenever possible, it should be eaten raw in salads.
Beets for gall bladder
Who should not eat beets?
Apart from people affected from kidney stones or gallstones, it is necessary to have in consideration that red beet is not very appropriate for those who possess a fragile stomach or those who have a tendency to develop acidity or flatulence.
For its wealth in sodium those who are advised to take a diet without salt should not abuse of its consumption, although its wealth in potassium neutralizes partly its content in sodium.
Source: USDA Nutrient Data Base
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.