When introduced in the 17th century to Britain, the red beet was described as 'the most excellent and delicate salad'.
This humble root vegetable is now making its way out of traditional recipe books and onto the menus of the hippest restaurants in town, with interesting new nutrition research supporting its strong health benefits.
The scarlet colour of beetroot is thought to be a combination of the naturally occurring yellow (betacyanin) and purple (betaxanthin) pigments. These vibrant pigments are potent phytochemicals and antioxidants that work to protect damage to body cells from free radicals. It is known that the more vibrant the colours of our fruit and vegetables, the more they have to offer in terms of nutrients to help protect our bodies from damaging free radicals.
Beetroot gets their distinct red colour, not from the antioxidant, anthocyanins, but from betalain antioxidant pigments. These nutrients has been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.
With regards to detoxification, the process utilises the beneficial properties betalain has to offer. Phase 2 detoxification of the liver involves an enzyme family called the glutathione-S-transferase family (GSTs). GSTs hook toxins up with glutathione for neutralization and excretion from the body. The betalains found in beet have been shown to trigger GST activity, and to aid in the elimination of toxins that require glutathione for excretion.
In addition to these, the beetroot is high in Viamin C and manganese, therefore offering great antioxidant support Betalains also help the body make carnitine. Carnitine is a nutrient that helps the body turn fat into energy.
Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with unwanted inflammation and risk of cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis.). Choline is a B vitamin important for preventing unwanted build up of homocysteine. Choline is made up of the all important phytonutrients called betaine commonly found in the beetroot.
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