Few vegetables offer as many health benefits as beets.
If you haven’t included it in your diet yet, you should.
According to the latest research, it can also kill cancer cells and could thus become, together with chemotherapy, a part of cancer treatment.
However, this unobtrusive panacea can do much more.
Beetroot is loaded with health-promoting substances
A highly nutritious vegetable that contains a large number of beneficial vitamins, minerals, trace elements and amino acids. Iron, copper, phosphorus, boron, vitamins A, C, K and vitagen choline are especially worth mentioning.
As one of the few foods, it also contains betalains; yellow and red pigments. These have proven anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects. Beetroot is included in the group of ten plants with the highest antioxidant capacity.
Beetroot is 87% water, which is why it was the most used food during World War II, when it provided at least a minimum supply of water to dehydrated soldiers.
Beet – an ancient medicine
Aristotle, the philosopher and educator of Alexander the Great, mentioned beets in his manuscripts as an important food of the ancient civilization. Already in the 8th century BC, the healing properties of this crop were widely known. It thus became not only food, but also medicine.
It enjoyed great popularity mainly because it could be used completely. Beet root was used to treat fever and as an aphrodisiac. Hippocrates believed in the healing effects of beet leaves and recommended them for fresh wounds instead of bandages.
What does beet cure?
As modern science and medicine have shown, ancient cultures were not wrong about the healing powers of beets. Its role is essential, it becomes a cheap and effective alternative to pharmacological treatment in several diseases, with much fewer side effects.
Beetroot and cancer
According to recent studies, beetroot has a significant effect on cancer cells; specifically to kill them. In research, chemotherapy with the administration of beetroot juice has been shown to be the most effective combination in the treatment of cancer .
Not only does beet affect the growth of tumors, it has also been shown to prevent the cardiotoxic effects of chemotherapy. During treatment, it protects heart muscle cells and their functions. Experiments have thus proven that beets can become an important part of treatment procedures in the field of chemoprevention and cardioprotection in the future 1 .
Osteoarthritis and arthritis
The anti-inflammatory effects of beets also have an effect on autoimmune inflammations. Therefore, its consumption can positively affect the treatment and symptoms of arthritis .
Beetroot also has promising results in reducing the amount of hypochlorous acid in the body. It is believed that this acid contributes to the development of osteoarthritis. During research, betalains from raw beets were able to significantly reduce its harmful effect 2 . It is believed that beetroot could help patients with reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
The effect of beets on blood pressure and heart disease
Beetroot is also a natural source of nitrates. It provides a large amount of nitric oxide; this finding led scientists and doctors to think that beets (specifically beets) could make a positive contribution to the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
Recent studies have confirmed this assumption. Beetroot reduces blood pressure and is thus the first aid for hypertension 3 . An important finding is that it has this effect in any form (raw or cooked).
The amino acid betaine is currently prescribed as a dietary supplement to reduce homocysteine levels. This is a risk factor for the development of heart and vascular diseases, including stroke. For the production of these parapharmaceuticals, betaine is used, which is a by-product of sugar beet processing.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Nitrates contained in beets have a positive effect on the cognitive functions of the brain. Experiments have shown that the consumption of beets improves the executive functions of the brain , especially in a more vulnerable group of people – the elderly 4 .
Impaired activity of cognitive abilities is closely related to Alzheimer’s disease, so it is assumed that beets could also serve as a supportive treatment for this memory disease.
Beetroot and skin problems
Alcoholic extracts (tinctures) or ointments from fresh beet leaves have healing effects. They are widely used to treat inflammatory acne , psoriasis and eczema. It is also effective on burns, blisters and ulcers.
So far unexplored effects of beets
This common root vegetable is a universal source of health-promoting substances. Due to its great potential in the field of medicine, the effects of beets on a wide range of illnesses and diseases are being investigated. Recent studies on rats have shown that the betalains contained in beetroot have greater anti-inflammatory effects than, for example, Ibuprofen 5 .
The beneficial effects of beets on hormonal disorders, such as thyroid disease and diabetes, are also the subject of further investigation.
The wild ancestor of all known cultivated beets, it thrives mainly along the Mediterranean Sea. Its roots have a neutral taste and can be used in the kitchen just like potatoes.
However, it is popular because of its nutritious leaves, which rival spinach in terms of taste. Both foods have comparable nutrient content. Sea beet offers slightly more potassium and zinc, so it is undoubtedly a more suitable option for older people, for whom zinc in particular significantly reduces the risk of developing infections.
| Spinach leaves|
100 g 6
| Sea beet leaves|
100 g 7
|Water||91.4 g||87.3 g|
|Calcium||99 mg||67.1 mg|
|Iron||2.71 mg||2.88 mg|
|Magnesium||79 mg||66.9 mg|
|Phosphorus||49 mg||49.2 mg|
|Potassium||558 mg||988 mg|
|Zinc||0.53 mg||0.85 mg|
|Manganese||0.89 mg||0.73 mg|
|Vitamin C||28.1 mg||27.5 mg|
|Folate||194 μg||302 μg|
|Vitamin E||2.03 mg||0.51 mg|
Sea beet leaves in the kitchen
Just like spinach – the leaves of this beetroot are a universal ingredient that you can incorporate into any meal. They can be blanched, steamed, boiled or eaten raw. Fresh leaves are delicious in baguettes, toasts and salads. Boiled, they are suitable for soups or as a stewed side dish for meat and potatoes instead of the already mentioned spinach. They are also widely used in egg omelets or in combination with legumes.
Also called Mangelwurzel or Mangold, it is currently grown mainly as fodder beet for livestock. In the past, ancient civilizations used this type of beet (or its older predecessor) for medicinal purposes. Due to its nutritional benefits, it is one of the most used fodder crops, animals thrive on it, and they can also graze on the leaves, thus utilizing the entire plant.
Also known as common beet, garden beet and table beet. This beet is the natural miracle in the field of nutrition and medicine . It contains 12 times more vitamin C than beets and provides the human body with 184,871 mg more betaine, which, among other things, has a significant effect on the protection of the heart and blood vessels.
| Beet field|
100 g 8
| Beet red|
100 g 9
|Water||87.6 g||87.6 g|
|Energy value||43 kcal||44 kcal|
|Carbohydrates||9.56 g||10 g|
|Fiber||2.8 g||2 g|
|Sugars||6.76 g||8 g|
|Calcium||16 mg||205 mg|
|Iron||0.8 mg||6.03 mg|
|Magnesium||23 mg||76.17 mg|
|Potassium||325 mg||881 mg|
|Zinc||0.35 mg||1.2 mg|
|Vitamin C||4.9 mg||61.17 mg|
|Niacin||0.33 mg||1.46 mg|
|Folate||109 μg||265 μg|
|Betaine||129 mg||185,000 mg|
|Vitamin A||110 μg||0.29 μg|
|Vitamin B5||0.155 mg||0.665 mg|
|Glutamic acid||0.428 g||0.366 g|
Beetroot is a sweet vegetable, it contains more sugar than watermelon. However, it generally has a low glycemic index, little glucose, and is thus a suitable food even for people suffering from hyperglycemia.
During the research, it was found that the anthocyanins (pigments) of beets to a certain extent also support the production of insulin itself. Beetroot is the cheapest source of these intense dyes, which is why dried beetroot powder is added as a natural food coloring.
100 g 10
100 g 11
100 g 12
| Beet red|
100 g 9
|Carbohydrates||9.58 g||13.2 g||8.69 g||10 g|
|Fiber||2.8 g||2.5 g||0.8 g||2 g|
|Sucrose||3.59 g||1.61 g||3.32 g||7 g|
|Glucose||0.59 g||2.68 g||2.08 g||0.8 g|
|Fructose||0.55 g||6.36 g||2.4 g||0.2 g|
|Sugars||4.74 g||10.6 g||7.88 g||8 g|
Preparation of beetroot
One of the common misconceptions is that beets must be peeled before heat treatment. On the contrary – it is better to leave it with the peel . Why? You will find out a few lines below.
- You can cook it classically in boiling water . Place the whole beetroot (i.e. uncut), including the skin, in boiling water and cook for at least 45 minutes, until soft. Thanks to the skin, the beet does not lose so much of its red pigment during cooking, i.e. it does not fade.
- Similarly, it can be prepared for steaming . You can steam efficiently, quickly and simply in a steamer. Before you invest in this handy helper, read the big steamer comparison test . However, an ordinary pot and an even more ordinary steamer will suffice. Steaming takes a little longer, at least 55 minutes, but the beets retain all their nutrients because they are not washed into the water.
- You can also bake beets in the oven . Rub the whole beetroot (including the skin) with olive oil, wrap in foil and bake at 200°C for up to an hour and a half. During this preparation, it is necessary to check the beets more often to make sure they are not burning. However, by baking it acquires a much stronger aromatic taste, which is its own.
How to quickly remove the peel
The reason for leaving the skin on beets is that they peel off really easily after heat treatment. After cooling, you will only need a paper towel to peel boiled, steamed and baked beets. Simply wipe off that peel, easily and effortlessly.
If you don’t have enough time to prepare beetroot, you can peel it and cut it into small pieces – this will shorten the cooking and baking time. However, it is necessary to take into account that beets that are not prepared whole and with the peel will lose not only their bright color, but also their typical taste.
|Baking in the oven||Steam preparation||Boiling in water|
whole and with peel
|90 minutes||55 minutes||45 minutes|
sliced and peeled
|50 minutes||35 minutes||25 minutes|
Helpful tip – pre-cooked vacuum-packed beets are also commonly available in stores. This will save you a lot of time that you would otherwise spend in the kitchen. You can boil it for a short time, but you don’t have to – just cut it up and mix it into the dish.
Consume beets in any form
Beetroot can be consumed both cooked and raw. The raw one looks a lot like a watermelon, has a sweet taste and is full of water. For this reason, beet juice is a popular raw material for juice production. Shops offer not only 100% beet, but also those combined with fruit or even fermented.
If you don’t like the taste of beets, but you would like to take advantage of its health benefits, use them as a spice. Dried beetroot powder is commonly used to flavor food or to color confectionery. It is also popular with athletes because it is a tasty and nutritious ingredient in protein shakes.
Do you often crave something salty and “unhealthy”? Try a beet chip alternative. They are tasty, moreover, significantly more beneficial for the body than potato ones. They contain 88% less fat, and provide a significant amount of calcium and iron even after heat treatment. You can find several types in stores, but you can also make them yourself at home in the oven.
Take a look at the preparation process and you can also try their sweet version with cinnamon.
More beetroot recipe tips
- Beetroot is the most used ingredient in mixed drinks. All beneficial substances remain in raw beetroot juice, and the human body receives them to the highest possible extent. Variousdetox smoothies aimed at specific health problems are also popular.
- Try the marmalade. Yes, you read that right, it is possible to make very tasty and healthy marmalade from beets.
Lunches and dinners
- Beetroot is also a basic ingredient for borscht . However, it is not the only soup made from this vegetable that is worth trying. A creamy roasted beetroot soup or a more spicy beetroot soup with chilli is also great. Get inspired by individual recipes and taste for yourself which one is the best.
- Try, for example , beetroot meatballs or fake beetroot tartare. Beetroot is popularly used as a meat substitute. A meatless version of the famous Italian appetizer – this is beetroot carpaccio . Food not only for vegetarians and vegans; the recipe is very variable and it often includes, for example, smoked salmon.
- Beetroot is also a versatile side dish. It is most often served roasted, seasoned with garlic. It is a great substitute for potatoes – beetroot puree instead of mashed potatoes or beetroot pancakes instead of potato chips.
Snacks and desserts
- Another way to process beets is to make a spread, dip or even hummus from them. Recipes for the preparation of spreads and dips offer countless combinations of ingredients. There are variants with zucchini, horseradish, but also goat cheese. However , the beetroot spread with garlic and mayonnaise remains a tasty staple that just can’t be beat.
- Raw beets are not only sweet, but also exceptionally juicy thanks to their water content. For that reason, it is a very popular ingredient for making salads. For example, beetroot salad with apples is popular, and even children like it because of its sweet taste. It thus provides parents with a unique opportunity to get their children to eat vegetables full of nutrients without protest. Spicy versions are also very popular – beetroot salad with red onion or even horseradish. These go perfectly with steaks.
- Good news, especially for dessert lovers – beetroot can also be baked. And not only sweet treats, but also baked goods, which will have countless health benefits thanks to beets. You can try a birthday beet cake , a cake with a sweet beet filling or beetroot bread.
- If you want to keep beets all year round, it is also possible to ferment them. Pickled beets are even healthier than raw beets. Fermentation to a certain extent multiplies the content of vitamins, and the lactic acid produced during fermentation enhances the effects of beneficial substances.
Other garden beet varieties
The red garden beet has several other varieties, such as Albina Vereduna – a white variety, Bull’s Blood – which is grown for its red leaves and Burpee’s Golden – a beet with yellow flesh.
Other varieties that are grown mainly in the USA are Chiogga – which has specific white rings in the red flesh, Detroit Dark Red and Red Ace – popular American commercial types.
Sugar beet is an important species. It was first used as a source of sugar in Silesia. In 1840, sugar beet was the source for 5% of the world’s sugar, in 1880 it was already for 50%.
To make sugar, beetroot is chopped and heated in water. The sugar liquid is filtered from the contents and allowed to crystallize into sugar. Sugar beet contains up to 18% sugar, which is even more than cane sugar (maximum 15%).
In recent years, the popularity of molasses is rising again. Molasses is a byproduct of sugar production. This brown syrup has fewer calories than honey and is used as a substitute sweetener.
Beet sugar is also used to make alcohol. In some European countries, vodka is made from it, and in the Czech Republic, Tuzemák is a popular rum distillate.