Common name: Beet, beetroot, wild sea-beet, Swiss chard, rhubarb chard, spinach beet, silver beet, sugar beet, mangel-wurzel, mangold
Family: Amaranthaceae (goosefoot)
A classic tonic for the blood with an impressive nutritional profile.
The beet family of plants, grow naturally along coastlines in North Africa, Asia, and Europe. The beet plant is a polymorphic biennial flowering in the second year of growth and reaches heights up to 2 m tall when in flower. The leaves are at the base of the plant and form a rosette arrangement. The flowers are small and green forming dense, usually branched inflorescences. The ‘Seeds’ are actually fruits that are attached to one another. The roots are characteristically blood red, bulbous and round in shape. It is this part of the plant that is most commonly cultivated.
How it Works
The two primary constituents in beetroot are betains and anthocyanins. Although they are both responsible for the deep red colouring of the plant, they are also antioxidants. Antioxidants help us to fight free radical damage, and protect against chronic degeneration at a deep cellular level.
Betain specifically supports Phase 2 detoxification processes in the liver. This process breaks down toxins that are bound to other molecules enabling them to be efficiently excreted from your body. So, betain is valuable for supporting detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver. Betaine also lowers the levels of homocysteine in the body which can affect blood vessel structure. Increased levels of betaine can also, therefore, protect the health of our heart and blood vessels preventing the onset of conditions such as atherosclerosis.
Into the Heart of Beetroot
Beetroots have a broad nutritional profile including a wide range of vitamins, minerals and organic compounds such as betain, carotenoids, iron, folic acid, phosphorous, potassium, anthocyanins and nitrates. It is the betain that is responsible for beetroots’ vibrant red colour.
Beetroot has a specific affinity for the blood, which is indicated in its bright red colouring. Beetroot is naturally protective for our heart and blood vessels. Naturally occurring nitrates in beets, are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps to relax and dilate the blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Beetroot is also natural source of potassium which dilates blood vessels and contributes to an overall lowering of blood pressure. Nitric oxide also improves oxygen uptake within the body, making beetroot a favourable food with athletes for improving endurance and stamina during exercise.
In addition to boosting cardiovascular functioning, beetroots are high natural sources of Vitamin A, silica, iron and folic acid. Vitamin A protects against macular degeneration of the eyes and conditions such as cataracts as well as being a valuable antioxidant. Silica helps the body to utilise calcium, an important component for musculo-skeletal health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Last but not least, iron and folic acid can help support a healthy pregnancy.
Cardiovascular: Indicated in high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiac weakness. Beetroot is a natural source of nitrate and betain, both of which relax and dilate blood vessels in addition to improving overall oxygen supply.
Immune: Indicated in immune deficiencies and/or seasonal immune afflictions such as cold and flu due to it being a natural source of Vitamin C.
Eye health: Indicated in cataracts and macular degeneration. Beetroots are a natural source of Vitamin A which protects against macular degeneration of the eyes.
Liver: Indicated in liver congestion, or where there is a need for detoxification. Betain supports phase 2 liver detoxification.
Adrenal: Indicated in fatigue, anaemia and muscle weakness. Although beetroot is not an adaptogen, it is a natural source of iron. It improves oxygen availability throughout the cardiovascular system whilst also supporting the integrity of blood vessels.
Digestive: Indicated in constipation as beetroot is a natural source of dietary fibre.