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Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) Health Benefits

Don't spill the Beetroot on the table cloth! The bright red stains won't come out easily in the wash. You might remember this from your childhood. 

It can be an acquired taste but once found Beetroot can be a favorite food for some.

The extract is used as a food coloring while sliced and canned Beetroot is popular worldwide.

I always eat a lot of Beetroot on a detox diet for its Liver protective effects but also because it encourages cleansing via the bowels.

 

Beetroot Health Benefits

Beetroot is high in dietary nitrate which may confer beneficial health effects via reduction of inflammatory nitrite and nitric oxide, a molecule that plays a key role in the regulation of vascular health, immune function and metabolism.

Both the juice and food are also rich in betalain compounds which are categorized as betacyanins. These are responsible for the red/violet color of red Beetroot. Betalains are water-soluble phytochemicals that have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and chemo-preventive activities.


Liver Protection

Extract of Beetroots given orally have exhibited significant dose-dependent Liver protective activity. (1)

A recent study has shown that Beetroot juice protects against chemically induced Liver injury and increases the activity of phase II detox enzymes. Results indicate that Beetroot through the activation of genes may exert its Liver protective and anti-carcinogenic effects. (2)

Blood Pressure 

Beetroot is currently purported as a health promoting food that might be useful for reducing the risk of developing the cardiovascular diseases hypertension and stroke and the immune disorder inflammatory bowel disease. (5)

According to the results of one study, the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor alpha were significantly lower, total antioxidant capacity was increased and non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol were all decreased. Although both raw and cooked forms of Beetroot were effective in lowering blood pressure, blood vessel function and systemic inflammation, the raw Beetroot juice had greater antihypertensive effects. (3)

Antioxidant

​Results of one study suggest a new nutritional strategy to give high contents of bio-accessible nutrients (nitrate, antioxidants and potassium) that are potentially relevant to improve cardiovascular health and exercise performance. (4)

Anti-Cancer

Studies that focused on anticancer activities of Beetroot extract in animal models, have unraveled their potential benefits as chemo preventive and chemotherapeutic agents. Studies by Dr. Sandor (Alexander) Ferenczi (Nobel Prize winner) has pioneered of the use of Beetroot juice as a cancer therapy in the nineteenth century and studied its strong anti-tumor effect as it contains a tumor inhibiting substance that he attributes to its natural red coloring agent, namely betaine. (6)

 

Conclusion

You simply can't beat Beetroot when it comes to color and so it seems, the Liver, blood and heart benefit equally. Use Beetroot liberally during your detox diet for this very reason. Not only that but it satisfies a healthy appetite when semi-fasting.

Try these recipes:

 


References:

 (1) Hepatoprotective activity of Beta vulgaris against CCl4-induced hepatic injury in rats. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16376022

(2) Betanin, a beetroot component, induces nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2-mediated expression of detoxifying/antioxidant enzymes in human liver cell lines. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23769299

(3) Improvement of hypertension, endothelial function and systemic inflammation following short-term supplementation with red beet (Beta vulgaris L.) juice: a randomized crossover pilot study. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27278926

(4) Development of a beetroot-based nutritional gel containing high content of bioaccessible dietary nitrate and antioxidants. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26887255

(5) The plasma bioavailability of nitrate and betanin from Beta vulgaris rubra in humans. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5346430/

(6) Beetroot-Carrot Juice Intake either Alone or in Combination with Antileukemic Drug ‘Chlorambucil’ As A Potential Treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4877878/

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