Food for Angela Day Picture: Shayne Robinson XSR004

London - Served in crinkle-cut slices and doused in vinegar, beetroot was once dismissed as a ghastly addition to a summer salad.

But the root vegetable is enjoying a remarkable renaissance – being eaten fresh, added to soups and baked as an alternative to potato crisps.

Following decades of decline, beetroot sales are rising sharply and farmers have had to dramatically increase their planting to meet demand.

It has even achieved superfood status, after scientists claimed beetroot juice is capable of boosting athletic performance and can help treat high blood pressure.

Retail analysts Kantar suggest total sales of the vegetable are up by 20 percent in four years, while Tesco reports sales of beetroot juice have surged by 50 percent in just one year.

Beetroot is a good source of iron and folic acid. It also contains nitrates and other antioxidants, which can help lower blood pressure and the risk of cancer. - Daily Mail