Beet Greens (Beta Vulgaris)
Beet leaves, commonly known as beet greens, are the tasty nutritious leafy part of beetroots and in fact have a higher nutritional value than the roots. Many people are unaware that the leaves are edible and that they make an excellent low calorie, nutrient-packed meal. One cup of beet greens provides just 46 kilocalories.
This leafy vegetable is rich in dietary fibre and is thus beneficial to the digestive system. Beet greens are loaded with many vitamins and minerals as well as phytonutrients. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E and vitamin B6. They are also a good source of protein and folate. The leaves are also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc and manganese. The iron content of beet leaves/greens is much higher than that of spinach, and is beneficial in treating iron-deficiency anaemia. However, these green tops also contain a high amount of oxalic acid which may inhibit calcium absorption, so they should not be eaten in excess, especially by those having a history of kidney stones.
Beet greens are a great source of Betalains, which are phytonutrients known for their anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. In addition they contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which have many health benefits and are important nutrients for healthy vision. They are especially rich in Beta carotene. Being an excellent source of vitamin A, they help protect against oxidative damage to cellular structures and DNA. Do not throw away these nutritious greens again. Include them in your daily diet and reap the health benefits they have to offer.