Beetroot can be tracked back through time to the hanging gardens of Babylon almost a 1000 BC, to ancient Egypt and to a Neolithic site in the Netherlands. The ancient Greeks cultivated it for its leaves and not the roots; leaves have also been used to bandage wounds, the tuber has been used through history as a medicine, laxative and treatment for fever. The Romans ate the tuber and recognised its health promoting prop- erties. Ancient varieties were more like carrots and the tuber we recognise as beetroot today came to the fore around the 16th and 17th century in Europe.
Beetroot could justifiably be described as a super food due to its health promoting properties when consumed. It is high in immune boosting fibre, vitamins and minerals; vitamin C and essential minerals like potassium that supports nerve and muscle function, magnesium which supports bone, liver, kidney and pancreas function and general health.
Beetroot are also a rich source of B vitamins and folate which is widely accepted as a defence against birth defects. It is widely recognised as a detox agent when consumed, the juice has been promoted as an aphrodisiac.
Beetroot supports healthy circulation and may help those with blood pressure issues, also boosts strength, digestion, brain function and health; it also supports skin health and other signs of aging. Last but not least young tender beetroot leaves are a recent addition to various salad mixes.
An interesting effect of eating beetroot may be next time you have a bowel movement you may see a red or pink tinge in your motions, this can be quite disconcerting at first sight (may look like a crime scene) but there is nothing to be alarmed about, you may have just over done the portion size.
There are a considerable number of recipes and uses for our humble beetroot; it is great roasted whole or in segments as part of a roast vegetable medley, or segments in a salad served cold or warm. Raw beetroot can be shredded in salads, on the sweeter side added to muffins, cakes and brownie, may also be used as a natural food colouring.