Some of the foods that have become very popular recently are cactus fruit, also called prickly pear, beets and dragon fruit or otherwise called red pitahaya because they are abundant in a compound which is very powerful. This compound is called betalain. It is a term which comes from the Latin name given for beet, Beta vulgaris. The purple or deep red as well as the beets contain significantly big amounts of this compound. It has also been used as a natural, yet commercial food dye.
Betalain has also been scientifically researches because it contains very powerful antioxidants. They can fight against various diseases and even cancer. Some other foods that also belong to this group are amaranth, purple chard and quinoa. Betalain especially neutralizes toxins and can help us detoxify our body naturally. If we use it more often, it will improve our life completely and we’ll be able to live longer! The cells are also protected from premature aging and become rehydrated.
Betalain can also help us balance our minerals like magnesium, potassium and sodium so that our cells could work well.
What Does Betalain Do?
Betalains are in fact purple, yellow and red pigments from the bioactive group. They possess hypoglycemic, antihypertensive, chemopreventive and anticancer properties.
It has been proved by studies performed on humans as well as on animals that betalain can help us fight numerous diseases, especially the ones connected to inflammations. Beetroot especially can help us against atherosclerosis, dementia, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, but also regulate the high blood pressure.
Beets also contain other powerful ingredients like flavonoids, ascorbic acid, phenolic acids and carotenoids, but also natural pigments like polyphenolic anthocyanins: chlorophylls, resveratrol and carotenoids, all extremely beneficial for our health. The betalain found in both cactus fruit and beets can:
- Protect the liver from toxins
- Protect all of our cells from toxins, especially in the brain
- Offer soluble fiber that can improve the condition with our cholesterol
- Contain both magnesium and potassium
- Offer flavonoids and carotenoids that are extremely beneficial for our heart health
Cactus fruits and beets contain almost 24 kinds of betalains, all different. Other plants can offer from 6 to 12. Plants which live in hot climates have higher concentrations of these substances.
Betalains Change Nitrates To Good Kind Nitrites
The nitrates that are found in beets but also in other vegetables are natural, but when we eat them, they convert to nitrites. They aren’t the same ones that we obtain from meat products like hotdogs, bacon, pepperoni and pork. They convert into very dangerous nitrosamines when they’re being heated.
As we all know, vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants, too, so these nitrites are not bad. Our body transforms them into a soluble gas called nitric oxide (NO).
‘Therapeutic Potentials’ Which Betalain Offers
Beets can offer numerous benefits and beneficial compounds which help us improve various functions of our organism. Some of them are:
Bioavailability — Immediately after we eat theme, these compounds are absorbed into our intestines as well as our circulatory system. Especially bioavailable are betalain and inorganic nitrite.
Endothelial function —Nitrate changes to nitrite so that it can produce nitric oxide and that’s the most important function for endothelial cells as well as for the whole vascular health. Endothelial dysfunction mostly appears because of depletion of nitric oxide.
Cognitive function — As we age, the blood flow that goes through our brain becomes reduced, but if we have more nitric oxide that beet will give us it will help us improve this blood flow as well as the whole cognitive function.
Inflammation —It mostly appears when there is infection or trauma. Beets, as we already said, are abundant in anti-inflammatory agents and can or infection, but on a long help us fight infections in the long run.
Oxidative stress — Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) is the balance between pro-oxidants that are oxidizing and antioxidants that are reducing agents in oxidation. They are very important for numerous biochemical and cellular processes
Numerous Studies Have Proved The Effects Betalain Has
According to a particular study, the betalain in beets can help us improve muscular damage because of exercising. During the study, 13 male runners who were 25 years old were given 50 miligrams of betalain for 6 days. The complete performance of their body was improved when the tests ended.
The time of healthy foods has come. The ones rich in betalain are especially important: cactus fruit, rainbow chard, beets, quinoa and amaranth can especially offer us health benefits.
Prickly pear is especially tested and it was proved to help in diseases and illnesses like: obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, diarrhea, alcohol hangover, benign prostatic hypertrophy, colitis and various viral infections. This type of cactus contains pectin and fiber which are especially good in decreasing the amount of sugar in our blood. Try to intake it more. If you can’t find it, try to find dragon fruit, as it also contains betalain as well as numerous benefical ingredients.