It is good to know that we don't need to rely on pharmacueticals if we can get good produce. Here is another reason to eat your beats. Many people think only of pickled beets, but they are great juices, or sliced in strips for your salads. You can even steam them and eat them that way. Be aware that the red color can show through in your urine and bowel movements.
One ingredient found in many of today's green super-food formulas is red beet root powder, which is made from dehydrated beets and then ground into a powder. Although the benefits of beets are not often shouted through the rooftops, red beet roots and beet juice have a storehouse of plant-sourced nutrients and a tremendous amount of healing potential. Beets are a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, and folate. Beets are also a good source of Vitamin C, zinc, copper, and iron. Beets contain polyphenols and betalains, which are getting quite a bit of medical attention as important natural antioxidants. Beets have been clinically proven to support liver function in rats. Recent clinical research suggests that beets and beet juice are useful in healing a variety of degenerative conditions.
Polyphenols and betalains are seeing an increase in attention within the scientific community
Research over the past ten years is increasingly documenting the importance of polyphenols in the human diet. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
, polyphenols, a type of antioxidants, are clinically proven to prevent cardiovascular disease in humans. Positive results from animal studies suggest that polyphenols would be beneficial in cancer, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative disease cases. This is because polyphenols go beyond the action against oxidative stress that most antioxidants perform.
Betalains are also getting more attention within the scientific community. Betalains were "discovered" in 2001 as a class of antioxidants found most prevalently in red beets. A relatively low daily dose of betanin, 300 mL (one and a quarter cups) from red beet juice has been clinically demonstrated to be enough to reverse the effects of free radical damage and oxidative stress in humans. Medical researchers are optimisticaly suggesting that beets and beet juice may be a useful healing therapy for a variety of degenerative diseases.
Our mothers were right - beets are good for us
Beets contain a high concentration of polyphenols and betalains. Eating a diet rich in polyphenols and other antioxidants before undergoing any type of surgery has been proven to reduce post-operative complications, according to a study published in a 2007 issue of Nutrition
. In this experiment, red beets were added to the regular diet of rats. Low blood pressure was induced for forty-five minutes to the point where liver cells were damaged. While in this state, a variety of liver tests were performed, then the rats were allowed to recover. In the group of rats who were fed beets, the liver antioxidant levels were significantly increased, as was the levels of copper and zinc. The researchers concluded that a diet high in natural antioxidants, such as those contained in red beets and beet juice, help liver cells heal faster after surgery.Sources for this article include:
Self Nutrition Data.com, "Beets, raw" http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2348/2
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.com. "Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond," Augustin Scalbert, et al. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
, January 2005: 81(1); 215S- 217S.http://www.ajcn.org/content/81/1/215S.full
Pubmed.gov. "Liver-protecting effects of table beet (Beta vulgaris var. rubra) during ischemia-reperfusion," L. Vail, et al. Nutrition
, February 2007; 23(2): 172-8.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17234508
Pubmed.gov. "Betalains- a new class of dietary cationized antioxidants," J. Kanner, et al. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
, November 2001; 49(11): 5178-85.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11714300
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