Tom Robins captured the true essence of beets when he said that the beet is the most intense of vegetables…. Beets are deadly serious. Slavic peoples get… their seriousness from beets. The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.
This account of beet in his book Jitterbug Perfume is one of the most beautiful pieces of literature ever written and that also in praise of one vegetable. This just about summarizes how valued beet has been as a vegetable over the centuries.
The beetroot, or Beta vulgaris as it is scientifically named, is actually taproot. Beets are much known for their nutritional value and thus are a part of all the recommended diet plans.
The ancient accounts of human history describe a vegetable which resembles beetroot and was popular for its medicinal effects. Even today beets are commonly used in medication. The first accounts of beet cultivation have been unearthed in the Roman era. Today beets are cultivated all over the world a number of varieties are available worldwide.
The beetroot leaves are dark green in color while the vegetable itself is a tapered taproot. The beetroot needs to harvest at just the right time so as to ensure that it tastes good. However, if left for prolonged period, it will harden and will become bland and bitter with an excess of fiber development in it thus rendering it inedible. The skin of beet is typically pigmented purplish pink or red but the golden tinged variety of the vegetable is also available. Some varieties have spirals of white and crimson colors in the beet flesh.
It is rich in sugar content therefore it tastes delightful. The crimson colored skin and the delectable taste make it an instant hit. The added advantage of high nutritional value of beets is like the cherry topping of the cake.
Nutritional Value of Beets
Beets have been renowned for their nutritional content since the ancient times. Beets are a rich source of the following nutrients.
- Vitamins: The high amounts of vitamins A, C, K and B6 make beet a good vitamin source.
- Essential Nutrients: The essential nutrients including folate, niacin and choline in beets ensure the proper functioning of the human body.
- Minerals: Nutritional value of the beet is quite high as it contains minerals like Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Ferrum (Fe), Phosphorus (P), Natrium (Na), Cuprum (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Kalium (K) and Selenium (Se).
Caloric Ratio Pyramids
The CRP indicates that the beet has more than 85% carbs content while proteins are more than 10%. On analysis of CRP, it is readily evident that beets are an effective source of nutrition while it also helps in weight loss.
Essential during Pregnancy
The high mineral content and nutritional value of beet ensures that the child gets the nutrients essential for its growth. In addition to this, the beet is also a source of folate which is involved in production of the DNA. Thus it is usually advised that the pregnant women include beetroot to their diet.
Beets are served in a number of ways like in salads or in soups. They are also roasted as it gives them a rich, smoky and delicious flavor.