This beautiful vegetable with its unique color is just incompatible as far as its nutritional values for our immune system are concerned! It has its origins in Southern Europe and its cultivation goes back to the time of the Assyrians. The ancient Greeks considered it of great value and the offered it to god Apollo at his temple in Delphi. In addition to that, a myth goes that Aphridite had been eating beets to retain her beauty! Since the ancient times and until the present day, beetroots have been used for numeral medicinal purposes in traditional and alternative medicine. The Romans used it to treat fever; in medieval England they recommended it as the perfect food for elders, weak organisms and the crippled; in Eastern Europe they used beetroots to treat headaches and toothaches. In the late 1950's Hungarian doctor Alexander Ferenczi commenced one of the most remarkable and tremendously successful programs for treating many different kinds of cancer tumors, using only raw red beets. Further clinical tests reported in the International Clinical Nutrition Review of 1986 claimed rapid tumor breakdown in lung, prostate, breast and uterine cancers with the use of beetroot. Apparently, beetroots contain a tumor-inhibiting, anti-cancerous active ingredient that some researchers think is the natural red coloring agent, betaine, but it has not been definitively isolated. However, because the root is non-toxic, it may be administered in unlimited quantities and shows great potential. If you wish to read more about it press here.
It is important to note that some of their health benefits are greatly reduced by cooking. If you wish to cook them however (cause they are also delicious when cooked!) leave about 50 mm of their stem attached and leave dangling roots intact when cooking fresh beets to prevent loss of color (the skins slip off easily after cooking). The cooked beets are excellent served as a hot vegetable or they may be cooled and added to salads or they can be made into a tasty soup! I recommend you to try eating them raw, even without peeling them sometimes! They are surprisingly tasty and sweet when raw (just bear in mind that sugar-beet is a major source of refined sugar). You may add them raw in salads (they taste great with carrots), or add them in a juice, or make a raw beetroot soup, it even makes a great carpaccio! I often eating them plain as a snack, just like carrots!
Here is a list of the most important health benefits and medicinal uses of beetroots:
• They are a great laxative. They stimulate the bowel, prevent and cure constipation and fight hemorrhoids.
• They are great for building a strong immune system. They are rich of nutrients that help stimulate the re-oxygenation of cells and the production of new blood cells.
• They work as a mood-lifter! Beetroots have been shown to contain the compound betaine, which enhances the production of the body’s natural mood-lifter seratonin.
• Their leaves have very similar benefits with spinach, which means that they are rich in b-carotene, folic acid, calcium and iron all of which are necessary nutrients for pregnant women.
• They are a wonderful cleansing and nourishing tonic that builds and purifies the blood, particularly improving the blood quality for menstruating women. It also normalizes the blood's pH balance (reducing acidity) and purifies the blood by flushing away fatty deposits and improving circulation.
• They detoxify the liver and spleen and help to treat many liver ailments, including jaundice, cirrhosis and other liver diseases. Some herbalists use it to treat liver problems induced by alcoholism.
• They are a great source of natural fruit sugar that is unlike cane sugar, which must be converted by digestive enzymes for the body to absorb it. Beetroots are already in a more easily assimilated form and are energy creators and an important source of vitality to the human body. It is believed that they are helpful in cases of hypoglycemia.
• Researches (London School of Medicine – 2008 and Queen Mary University of London – 2010) have indicated that Beet Root may significantly reduce blood pressure. The two key beneficial ingredients appear to be nitrate (which is converted in the body into nitrite) and the mineral, potassium. Nitrates dilate the arteries to the heart, increasing blood flow and dilate veins, also reducing the heart's workload.
• Beetroot juice (due to nitrate again) may boost stamina and allow people to exercise considerably longer.
• They are a great cleanser. They remove accumulated toxins from the body through the skin and have been used in poultices to draw poisons.
• They are good for glandular swelling and sore throat.
• They are recommended for stomach and digestion problems.
• They fight cancer, reducing and eliminating many different kinds of tumors. Apparently, Beet Root contains a tumor-inhibiting, anti-cancerous active ingredient that some researchers think is the natural red coloring agent, betaine, but it has not been definitively isolated. However, because the root is non-toxic, it may be administered in unlimited quantities and shows great potential. If you eat too much raw beetroot, it can kill the cancer faster than your liver can dispose of the waste products. So in case of a large cancer, one should start with small quantities of beetroot, and gradually increase them until you start to feel unwell, and then back off the amount. You may get a fever if your liver is being asked to work too hard.
• 17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpepper recommended beetroots for their cleansing and digestive qualities. In addition, he prescribed them for obstructions of the liver and spleen, headache, running sores, ulcers, scabs, dandruff and other skin ailments.
• They are good at accelerating the metabolic process, which usually lessens the risk of turning into fat.
• It is believed that they aid against Alzheimer's disease.
• Although they are very beneficial for the kidneys, people suffering from kidney stones or other kidney and gallbladder issues should not overdo it with the quantity of raw beetroot juice (or they should consult their doctor about it).