sScientific Name/Common Name: Beta vulgaris / Beet
Part(s) Used: Root/tuber or beet root juice
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Per 100 g raw beet root: Calories 43, Protein 1.6 g, Fiber 2.8 g, Sugar 7 g; various vitamins and minerals (excellent source of folate (20% RDA) and good source of manganese (14% RDA)); betaine and betalain compounds; nitrates.
Overview: Beets are native to temperate parts of Eurasia, but are now in general cultivation worldwide, chiefly for their large succulent roots, which are used as food and fodder and as a source of sugar. The most important species, the common beet, has several recognized varieties. The variety called chard, or Swiss chard, has small roots and highly developed leaves that are cooked for greens, and thick leaf stalks that are also edible. The table beet has a globular, tap, or carrot-shaped root. It contains approximately 10 percent carbohydrates and small percentages of protein, fat, fiber, and ash. Beet greens are rich in vitamins A and B. Beet roots and greens are particularly rich in folic acid or folate, a B vitamin. In addition, beets contain notable amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Besides their nutritional qualities, beets were eaten traditionally to support digestive and liver health. More recently, beet juice has been the subject of research into supporting cardiovascular health and athletic performance, based on their nitrate content.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Duke JA. 1992b. Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 93-95.
Lansley, K. et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of walking and running: a placebo-controlled study. J Appl Physiol 110: 591–600, 2011.
Kenjale AA, et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation enhances exercise performance in peripheral arterial disease. J Appl Physiol. 2011 Jun;110(6):1582-91.
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