Is there anyone not familiar with beetroot? It is mostly favoured as a salad, preserved in a jar, it requires almost no preparation, it is reasonably priced and it has a nice taste, plus it nicely complements almost every dish. It tends to be used mostly during the winter months when fresh salad is not so widely available or is more expensive.
Beetroot has some very interesting characteristics that are probably unknown to most of us, and we are uncovering 10 of its mysteries here.
- Beetroot was used by Ancient Romans for lowering body temperature and as a light diuretic. It is still recommended for these two uses nowadays.
- Even Hippocrates and his descendants used beetroot for medicinal purposes, e.g. as wound compresses.
- Ever since the days of the Ancient Romans, beetroot juice has been known as an aphrodisiac, as it contains high amounts of boron, which is important in the synthesis of sex hormones.
- During the Renaissance period, Bartolomeo Platina recommended taking beetroot with garlic to nullify the effects of garlic-breath.
- Because of its high sugar content, a special variety of sugar beet was developed from which sugar is produced even today.
- It contains high amounts of betaine which lowers homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a natural amino acid. High levels of homocysteine in the blood are believed to increase the chance of infarction, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
- The betaine in beetroot is said to also have a beneficent effect on our well-being and mood, and it also favourably affects the organism.
- Another proven fact is that beetroot is good for the blood as it contains high levels of folic acid which helps prevent anemia, and high levels of iron which is important in the formation of red blood cells, which supply oxygen throughout the body. Beetroot also contains high levels of potassium which helps regulate blood pressure, heart rate and drains excess water from the body.
- Because of its high levels of folic acid, beetroot is recommended to women in early pregnancy as it raises the levels of folate in the blood. Folate is needed for normal brain, cranium and spine development.
- Beetroot is said to promote liver function and the discharge of toxins from the organism.