Beet greens are young, leafy-tops of the beetroot plant. Indeed, beet tops carry more minerals, vitamins and health benefiting pigment antioxidants than its taproot, and yet they come as one of the very low calories leafy-greens. Although its top greens can be gathered at any stage of growth, they are at their best while the plant is young, and its stems are soft and tender.
Botanically, beet is a tuberous taproot belonging to the major Amarathaceae family, in the subfamily of Betoideae. Its scientific name is Beta vulgaris. Sugar beet, Mangelwurzel, and Swiss chard are other close members in the betoideae subfamily.
Grown in the Mediterranean region as far back as 2,000 B.C., beet cultivation spread to Babylonia in the eighth century, then to China around 850 A.D.
Beets, along with their greens, belong to the Goosefoot family, known as Chenopodiaceae. Within the botanical family, beet greens are factored alongside spinach, Swiss chard, quinoa, lamb's quarter, and a number of other wild plants, which means that beet greens can be placed in the “dark, leafy” category. Because they are a cool season crop, beets grow quickly and can survive almost freezing temperatures, making them a favorite of northern gardeners. Beets and their greens also enjoy a longer than normal growing season.
It’s best to use beet greens within two or three days after refrigeration. Enjoy beet greens by themselves as a salad or with other leafy vegetables, or sauté them in a bit of olive oil or balsamic vinegar and salt for a delicious side dish.
Health Benefits of Beet Greens
Beet tops are one of very versatile and nutritious green leafy vegetables. The greens indeed very low in calories; 100 g hold just 22 calories. Nonetheless, they are one of the healthiest greens recommended in the diet for their low fat, no cholesterol but health benefiting vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.
Besides supplying good amounts of protein, phosphorus, and zinc, beet greens are also a great source of fiber. Packed with antioxidants, they’re high in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, and low in fat and cholesterol. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, daily values of beet greens contain: 220% of vitamin A, 60% of vitamin C, 16% of calcium, and 15% of iron.
The vitamin A content in beet greens helps strengthen the immune system and stimulates production of antibodies and white blood cells. The beta-carotene in vitamin A is a known antioxidant that can fight the effects of free radicals in the body along with cancer and heart disease. Doctors often recommend vitamin A to patients at risk of developing night blindness.
Beet greens are very fine source of β-carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin. These flavonoids have strong anti-oxidant and anti-cancer activities. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin-A inside the body.
They are excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides 400 ug of this vitamin that is about 333% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Its leaves are also rich source of minerals like magnesium, copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation.
Sexual Booster (Aphrodisiac) : Beets or beetroots, as they are often called, belong to the Chenopodiaceous family. Their history stretches back to ancient times, and the earliest signs of their cultivation was approximately 4,000 years ago in the Mediterranean region. From there, they were probably transported to Babylon, and by the 9th century AD, they had made their way into Chinese culture and cuisine. They have long been associated with sexuality and have been used as an aphrodisiac for thousands of years. Beets have been considered an aphrodisiac or sexual booster for millennia. Part of this stems from the fact that beets contain significant levels of the mineral boron, which has been shown to boost the production of sexual hormones. This can lead to a boost in your libido, increased fertility, sperm mobility improvement, and a reduction in frigidity in the bedroom. Your sexual life can get a legitimate and time-tested push in the right direction by adding beets to the diet of you and your partner.
Use every part of your fresh beets and get two delicious side dishes.
One bunch beets with greens
¼ cup olive oi
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped onions
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash beets thoroughly, leaving skins on. (It’s easier to peel the beets once they’ve been roasted.) Remove the greens and rinse, removing any large stems and set aside.
Place beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Serve with red wine vinegar or butter and salt and pepper.
For the greens: heat remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for one minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add to skillet, stirring until wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper.