Beetroot is the large and fleshy root growing in the plant of the same name, eaten as a vegetable. Its superficial, thin and smooth skin has a wide range of colours, from purple-pink and reddish-orange to a brownish tone. The pulp has a sweet taste and it is usually of a dark crimson red colour with purple tinges.
The beetroot is an excellent source of a wide range of nutrients among which stand out the carbohydrates, fibre, minerals (potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and sodium) and vitamins (pro-vitamin A, niacin and vitamin C).
There are three varieties of beetroot; the common or red beetroot is the one consumed as a vegetable. The other two are sugar beet and mangelwurzel. The first one is of a white colour; it has been cultivated to obtain sugar since the XVIth century. Mangelwurzel is chiefly used as cattle food.
Beetroot has a low energetic value with a scarce content of lipids and proteins. Each 100 grams of edible fresh produce provides with 25-41 kcal of energetic value. Apart from water, the greatest components of this vegetable are carbohydrates. The vitamins of group B are important, specially the folic acid, being the latter found in greater amounts. However, it is one of the vegetables with less vitamin C and A content.