There has been enormous research interest in beets because of the the unusual mix of antioxidants that they contain. The unique combination of nutritional and nutriceutical components establishes the red beet as a marvelous vegetable, easy to grow and process its natural products. Its strong vasodilation properties, imparted pigments, flavonoids and organic nitrogen have lead to deep investigations by pharmaceutical companies to reap the enormous array of health benefits. Fortunately, a vegetable can’t be patented, so the beet will always remain as a very useful dietary tool in both the prevention and treatment of disease.
When it comes to antioxidant phytonutrients that give most red vegetables their distinct color, we’ve become accustomed to thinking about anthocyanins. (Red cabbage, for example, gets it wonderful red color primarily from anthocyanins.) Beets demonstrate their antioxidant uniqueness by getting their red color primarily from betalain antioxidant pigments (and not primarily from anthocyanins).