Regular beets, found almost in every vegetable garden, can be called universal and one of the most useful vegetables. And it’s not only the benefits of burgundy sweet roots, but also in the juicy, elegant tops of this plant.
Unlike the foliage of related species, the leaves of the beet harvested in the rosette are smooth, without rigid hairs, but with a powerful fleshy stem.
Appearing when there are no salads or early white cabbage on vegetable garden beds, beet tops can easily replace these crops and supplement the diet with high-quality vitamin dishes.
The elongated leaf of the young leaves is distinguished by its bright coloration, absence of coarse fibers and excellent taste qualities. In addition, the appearance of one kind of foliage causes aesthetic pleasure and contributes to the appearance of appetite. Depending on the variety, the leaf plate can be not only green, but also crimson, and the petiole and veins are always saturated with a dark red burgundy hue.
They knew about the benefits of beet tops and ways of using it in Russia long ago. No wonder among the traditional dishes of Russian cuisine – cold botvynya and a hot, rich borsch with beet leaves.
Composition of beet tops
If our ancestors had no idea of the beneficial properties of the beet leaves, they were only superficial, and based on observations, today the biochemical composition of the tops has been well studied.
The first thing to note is the low calorie content of the product. In 100 grams of beet leaves, only 28 kcal.
In greenery contains 1.2% of proteins, 0.1% of fat and 6% of carbohydrates, presented in the form of mono- and disaccharides. Beet tops are an excellent source of fiber, many minerals, vitamins and organic acids.
In the macro- and microelement composition of fresh beetroot, calcium, aluminum and molybdenum, boron and potassium, sodium, magnesium and cobalt are present. In addition, the tops are quite rich in fluoride, manganese and iron, zinc and copper. There are iodine, sulfur and phosphorus in the beetroot foliage. Not surprisingly, the useful properties of beet tops and recipes from it do not lose relevance today.
The composition of vitamins in the leaves of table beet will envy many modern drugs. Here, in addition to carotene and ascorbic acid, there are vitamin K, B9 and B6, B2, B1, PP and vitamin U.
Parts of the tops with a rich red-violet or burgundy color are rich in anthocyanins – natural antioxidants.
Benefit and harm of beet leaves
Judging by the composition of the beet tops, such a product can rightfully be considered dietary and can be used as a natural curative and prophylactic remedy for people suffering from disorders in a variety of organs and body systems.
First of all, beet tops are useful for those diagnosed with problems with the cardiovascular and endocrine system, as well as those with diabetes mellitus.
When you include dishes from the beetroot leaves in the daily diet, you can significantly improve metabolism, facilitate the flow of gastrointestinal diseases, for example, gastritis and peptic ulcer. Fiber together with beet tops pectins effectively cleanse the intestines and prevent the development of pathogenic flora, which prevents normal digestion processes and leads to serious diseases.
As part of salads, side dishes and soups, fresh beet tops are useful as an excellent prophylactic against atherosclerosis, as well as helping the body in the hematopoiesis. The leaves will also help if the endocrine system is disturbed.
Useful properties of the beet leaves, namely the choline, found in green, can protect the liver from fat deposition and tissue degeneration.
The presence of powerful antioxidants and a large amount of fiber provides a high efficiency of the tops as an antitumor, cleansing and protective agent.
Like many vegetables with a rich dark green color, there are a lot of calcium, magnesium and vitamin K in the beet tops, which have a beneficial effect on the bone system, teeth and cartilage. Dishes with foliage of beets can be recommended to older people as prevention from osteoporosis.
The same vitamin K, but already with carotene and iron, supports and normalizes the blood-forming ability. This useful property of beet leaves provides a significant help to the heart and vascular system, it has a serious counteraction to the development of anemia. Under the action of vitamins K, PP and U, the elasticity of the vessels improves, the risks of internal bleeding are reduced, and blood coagulability is normalized.
The doctors found out that the tops of ordinary beetroot and beet leaf greens, chard, help diabetics control blood sugar.
Flavonoids present in beet tops are the protection of the heart, and anthocyanins in juicy petioles are a powerful anti-inflammatory, purifying and rejuvenating agent.
It is noted that in the tops there are substances useful for the health of the eyes, hair and skin. Vitamin C perfectly supplies the body with energy, B vitamins support the work of the brain and nervous system. With such a large-scale benefit of beet leaves, they can not harm unless they abuse this product.
Culinary use of beet tops
To fully benefit from the use of beet leaves, you do not need to buy expensive drugs.
The medicine grows on a bed, and from it it is possible to prepare very tasty and original dishes.
Thanks to what recipes are the useful properties of beet tops preserved in full? Since the leaves of table beet do not contain substances toxic to humans, they can be consumed fresh. And this means that on a table a worthy place should be taken salads with bright juicy foliage.
Companions of the tops in fresh snacks are often tomatoes of sweet varieties, cucumbers and succulent varieties of pumpkin, all kinds of greens, nuts and berries, radish and sweet peppers. You can fill this delicacy with vegetable oils, sour cream or mayonnaise sauce. Piquant flax flavor will emphasize lemon juice or fragrant balsamic vinegar.
Vinegar and salt will help preserve beetroot foliage for the winter. Although in salt and marinated form the use of beet leaves is less, and harm is felt with diseases of the digestive and kidneys.
In addition to salads, beet leaves are used as a part of garnishes for different meat dishes and poultry. Elastic leaves can be served with pasta and potatoes, beans and rice.
In cabbage rolls, as well as in borsch, the tops perfectly replace white cabbage. Leaf beet and tops of table varieties are very light, delicious filling for home-made pies, casseroles and rolls.
If you want to make a useful soup with a beetroot, it is not necessary to make beetroot soup. Sure, loved ones will like a hearty bean or pea soup with a tops, mushroom soup or vegetarian soup with summer vegetables.
Video about a young beet and its leaves