Beetroot, also referred to as simply Beet, is a root vegetable with the Latin name of Beta vulgaris. It is from the plant family Chenopodiaceae. A common vegetable in salads, the root of the Beetroot is deep red to purple in colour and is extremely high in many nutrients, minerals and antioxidants.

Beetroot contains betaine, which is required by the body for cardiovascular health. Beetroot can therefore can prevent development of heart disease, stroke and vascular disease. Some studies also suggest this may also prevent liver disease such as that caused by an over consumption of alcohol.

There is some research that shows Beetroot juice can lower and maintain blood pressure when as little as 500ml was consumed in a day.

Beetroot is high in Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Phosphorous. It is high in B Group Vitamins (B1) Thiamine, (B2) Riboflavin, (B3) Niacin, (B5) Pantothenic acid, (B9) Folate and Vitamin B6. They are rich in Vitamin A and C. Also a rich source of Dietary Fibre.

Historically, the leaves of Beetroot have been used since before any known records were kept. The root of the beet was first recognised for its potential as a food during the 1800’s but it was used for medicinal purposes before this time.

Beetroot can be used in many ways.

Boiled and plated with potato, peas, carrots and parsnip. It goes well with all kinds of meat and chicken recipes. The water used for boiling should be kept and used as a base for gravy or used in a stew or casserole.

Beetroot can be baked with other vegetables. It can be flavoured with balsamic vinegar or salad dressings.

Beetroot is most commonly used in salads. It can be grated raw and tossed through a mixed summer salad or cooked and sliced and used in sandwiches, on burgers or on its own.

Beetroot can be juiced and consumed on its own or flavoured with carrot or tomato juice. The juice can also be used as a colouring in food dishes and sauces. It is a common red colouring used in Tomato sauce recipes.

The young leaves of beetroot are used raw in salads or can be steamed or used in stir-fries. The leaves are common in pre-mixed salads found in the fresh food section at supermarkets.

Beetroot is easy to grow. It can be grown in pots and leaves harvested as required for salads. When the root is of edible size it can be boiled, baked or juiced. It is a common grown vegetable in many home gardens around the world.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites or Subscribe to Eric's FREE Health and Organic Newsletters via these websites.