In ancient times, the beet roots were used for medicinal purposes and only the tops were eaten. (However there is no evidence to prove that the root has any medicinal properties.) But they are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and a natural red dye. Beets have one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable, (up to 10%), but the sugar is released slowly into the body. Beets do contain betaine and tryptophan, substances that relax the mind and contribute to a sense of well being. Makes you want to eat them at every meal.