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 marvellous 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). Coupled with their status as a very good source of the antioxidant manganese and a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C, the unique phytonutrients in beets provide antioxidant support in a different way than other antioxidant-rich vegetables. While research is largely in the early stage with respect to beet antioxidants and their special benefits for eye health and overall nerve tissue health, we expect to see study results showing these special benefits and recognizing beets as a standout vegetable in this area of antioxidant support.