We are often told that eating more vegetables will improve our health. One vegetable that we should eat a lot more of is beets. Besides being a good way to test bowel transit time, recent research has found that beets contain many unique nutrients with great health-giving properties.
The deep red color in the beet root comes from unique pigment compounds called betalains. Two of these, betanin and indicaxanthin are strong antioxidants. Another, vulgaxanthin [who makes up these names?], has anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties. These pigments have been shown in recent lab studies to slow tumour growth by reducing inflammatory enzymes and by increasing oxygen flow.
Beets were first studied as a cancer treatment in the 1950s by Hungarian doctor Alexander Ferenczi. In 1974 he reported in the Hungarian Journal of Medicine on the success of his raw beet juice treatment on patients in the final (cachexic) stage of cancer. Other studies since then have supported his claim that beet juice is an effective addition to cancer treatment. For best results start early and stick with it. Even better, eat beets regularly (once or twice weekly) to help prevent cancer. The betalains are destroyed by heat so raw beet juice is the best source (caution: the juice is a powerful detoxifier so start slowly). Steaming for up to 15 minutes or roasting for less than an hour is acceptable.
Beets have shown an even greater benefit in preventing heart disease. A beetroot extract has been developed that is more effective than L-Arginine in boosting nitric oxide (NO) in the blood vessels. NO is a vasodilator, relaxing blood vessels, lowering high blood pressure and reducing atherosclerosis. It is also a requirement for male erections, essential for a healthy sex life. Watch for more on this product, Neo40, in a future column.
When it comes to healthful vegetables, you just can’t beat beets!
Sources: "Beets: What's New and Beneficial About Beets" The World's Healthiest Foods; "Beetroot Therapy: Dr. A. Fenenci, MD." Annie Apple Seed Project; "Using Vegetables for Cancer Therapy — Beetroot Fights Disease and Even Cures Cancer." by Danica Collins; "Introducing Neo40®Daily."
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.