COMMON NAME: Beetroot
LATIN NAME: Beta Vulgaris
OTHER NAMES: Beet, Aka Kabu, Acelga
HABITAT: Europe, Asia, North Africa
BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Beet Root (lat. Beta vulgaris) is a species of the genus Beet, the Amaranth family (previously the genus belonged to the Mature family). It is a two-year (less often perennial) herbaceous plant 0.2 to 1.2 m. height. The root of the wild form is thin and the root of the cultivated form is fleshy, thick. The leaves of the beets are oblong-oval or oval-heart-shaped and are of green and purple color. Flowering occurs only in the second year of the plant, in July - August. On the flower-bearing stem, there are panicled inflorescence from axillary, bisexual, green colored flowers. Small insects and wind pollinate them. The fruits ripen at the end of August – September. They are single-seeded boxes, fused together into seed-balls (2 - 6 pcs.).
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION: Raw beetroot contains 88% of water. Beta Vulgaris ordinary contains a large amount of fiber, vitamin C, A, PP, vitamins of group B, as well as pectins and glucose. Beet is rich in folic and pantothenic acid. It also contains macro- and microelements (potassium, sodium, calcium, boron, vanadium, iron, magnesium, manganese, iodine, cobalt, copper, zinc, phosphorus, sulfur, cesium, rubidium, chlorine). Also triterpene glycosides and organic acids: citric, oxalic, malic; amino acids: betaine, betanin, lysine, valine, arginine, histidine are found in Beet Root. The amount of ascorbic acid, beta-carotene and folic acid is higher in beet leaves than in roots.
ACTIONS ON THE BODY: Beet Root is believed to have a number of positive actions on human`s body, such as blood tonic, alkaline, anticancer, antifungal, immunity booster, anti-inflammatory, laxative, antioxidant, hypoglycemic, cardio tonic, diuretic, cholagogue , analgesic and other.
Even though Beet Root is very good for human`s health, it still has some contraindications, such as:
SOME HISTORY AND INTERESTING FACTS:
The first mention of beets appear in the Mediterranean and Babylon, where it is described as a medicinal and vegetable plant. Firstly, only its leaves and petioles were eaten, and the roots were used for medicinal purposes, since the root was very dry and hard.
Even Hippocrates named the healing properties of Beet Root, and the Romans used it as an aphrodisiac. In the XVI century, Paracelsus used beets for the treatment of anemia.
A large variety of Beet Root appeared only after the 16th century, and beets firmly conquered the position of valuable vegetable crops.
Sugar beet appeared much later, after intensive work of breeders. In 1747, Andreas Marggraf discovered sugar in beets that looked like cane sugar.
In 1802, a factory was opened in Lower Silesia. Since then, sugar beet has been the second source of sugar after sugarcane, and has now spread everywhere except Antarctica.
In ancient Greece, beetroot was a symbol of quarrels and troubles. If someone wanted to mock at somebody, they sent him a beet as a gift.
Interesting to know that beetroot is the sweetest vegetable and champion among vegetables in iodine content.
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