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Beets are an ancient, prehistoric food that grew naturally along coastlines in North Africa, Asia, and Europe. Originally, it was the beet greens that were consumed; the sweet red beet root that most people think of as a "beet" today wasn't cultivated until the era of ancient Rome.
By the 19th century, however, the natural sweetness of beets came to be appreciated and beets began to be used as a source of sugar (reportedly, Napoleon was responsible for declaring that beets be used as a primary source of sugar after the British restricted access to sugar cane).
There's good reason to include beets in your diet as beets contain a variety of unique health-boosting nutrients that you may not be getting elsewhere. Plus, they're delicious!
Beet roots have always been included in Mercola's most recommended vegetables list, although they are in the "use sparingly" category because of their high carbohydrate levels.
Although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week (and their greens in unlimited quantities), enjoying not only their sweet, earthy flavor but also their powerhouse nutrients that may improve your health in the following ways.
For an even more intense flavor, try Borscht, or beet soup, which is a traditional Russian dish. This particular recipe below, from Dirt Doctor, also includes homemade broth, making it particularly nourishing and healing.
1 quart of organic, homemade broth (preferably beef or vegetable)
1 tablespoon organic butter or plant-based butter
3 or 4 medium size beets – thinly sliced
1 onion – thinly sliced
1 cup of shredded red cabbage
1/8 cup minced parsley
1 tablespoon Sherry (optional)
Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
Salt and pepper
Sour Cream (optional - or try coconut yoghurt )
Over medium low heat, melt butter in a medium size soup pot.
Add onions and beets and cook until soft – about 7 or 8 minutes.
Add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir in broth.
Simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add fresh cabbage, parsley, nutmeg, and sherry. Simmer for a couple minutes more, season with additional salt and pepper, serve, and enjoy.
Add a dollop of crème fraiche or plant-based sour cream if you like.