We all know that beetroot is a very healthy and tasty vegetable, which can be boiled, roasted or used in juices. It is one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen, as it can be used right across the menu; soups, starters, mains, puddings, cakes and even drinks can use beetroot to add great flavor, texture and, of course, color.
But the humble beetroot is more than simply a cooking ingredient, as you can see in these 11 fun facts about beetroot:
It's a Hangover Cure
Bet you didn't know it, but beetroot is a Hangover cure. Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its color, is an antioxidant, so the humble beetroot could be the key to beating your hangover. Betacyanin speeds up detoxification in your liver, which enables your body to turn the alcohol into a less harmful substance that can be excreted quicker than normal.
It's an Aphrodisiac
One of earliest known benefits of beetroot is its use as an aphrodisiac during the Roman times (maybe that's why The Lupanare, the official brothel of Pompeii, which still stands, has its walls adorned with pictures of beetroots). Skeptical? It is not all folklore, as beetroot contains high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
It Makes You Feel Better
Beetroot also contains betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to treat depression. It also contains tryptophan, which is also found in chocolate and contributes to a sense of well-being.
It Gives You a Sugar Rush
Beetroot has one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable. Up to 10 percent of beetroot is sugar, but it is released slowly into the body, rather than the sudden rush that results from eating chocolate.
You Can Use It in a Litmus Test
You can use beetroot juice to measure acidity. When added to an acidic solution, it turns pink, but when it is added to an alkali, it turns yellow.
It Works as Hair Dye
Since the 16th century, beet juice has been used as a natural red dye. The Victorians used beetroot to dye their hair.
It Can Be Made Into a Wine
Bottoms up! Beetroot can be made into a wine that tastes similar to port.
It Stains Easily
Beetroot is a water-soluble dye, and hot water seems to 'fix' the color stain more, so use lukewarm or cold water to avoid staining.
Try These Hacks to Get Out Stains
To cure the inevitable "pink fingers" when cooking beetroot, rub with lemon juice and salt before washing with soap and water. On fabrics, try rubbing a slice of raw pear on the stain before washing, or rinse in cold water before washing in a biological powder.
It's Been Served in Space
Out of this world: In 1975, during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, cosmonauts from the USSR's Soyuz 19 welcomed the Apollo 18 astronauts by preparing a banquet of borscht (beetroot soup) in zero gravity.
It's Broken World Records
Record breakers: The world's heaviest beetroot weighed 23.4kg (51.48lb) and was grown by Ian Neale from Somerset in 2001.
Facts courtesy of Love Beetroot.