The wild beet, the ancestor of the beet with which we are familiar today, is thought to have originated in prehistoric times in North Africa and grew wild along Asian and European seashores.In these earlier times, people exdusively ate the beet greens and not the roots. The ancient Romans were one of the first civilizations to cultivate beets to use their roots as food. The tribes that invaded Rome were responsible for spreading beets throughout northern Europe where they were first used for animal fodder and later for human consumption, becoming more popular inthe 16th century. Beets' value grew in the 19th century when it was discovered that they were a concentrated source of sugar, and the first sugar factory was built in Poland. When access to sugar cane was restricted by the British, Napoleon decreed that the beet be used as the primary source of sugar, catalyzing its popularity. Beets demonstrate their antioxidant uniqueness by getting their red color primarily from betalain antioxidant pigments (and not primarily from anthocyanins), Coupled with their status as a very good source of the antioxidant manganese and a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C, the leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are also high in folate, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. It is among the sweetest of vegetables, containing more sugar even than carrots or sweet com. The content of sugar in garden beet is no more than 10 percent, in the sugar beet it is typically 15 to 20 percent.