The common garden beet is a plant we all know and some of us love for the deep red tuber greens that taste similar to spinach. The cultivation of beets dates all the way back to the 8th century B.C. in the Mediterranean and has hybridized for different growth characteristics. Different kinds of Chard are related to beets, grown for their leaves as well as the Sugar Beet, which began being cultivated commercially in Germany in the 18th century when it was discovered that it had a very high sucrose content and was a great source for table sugar. All the various cultures that have ever cultivated beets prized them for their nutritive and medicinal properties. In Eastern Europe Beet Soup is very common and the author was raised on a delicious one made by his Polish Grandmother!
Beets are a good source of various minerals and vitamins. Throughout history it has been used and is noted for supporting healthy blood, cardiovascular function, digestion and even its use as an aphrodisiac. Such a dense source of vitamins and minerals is sure to benefit those consuming it on a regular basis and there has been some clinical research done to validate the health giving effects. One study sparked by interest in the presence of organic nitrates in Beetroot looked at the effect on blood pressure in healthy men and women drinking beetroot juice. The results were positive and have initiated more research