encyclopedia

Beets

Scientific Names:    

Beta vulgaris L. [Fam. Chenopodiaceae]    
 
   
Forms:    

Fresh, whole beet root; root juice or extract (liquid or dry); beet greens.    
 
   
Traditional Usage:    

– Anti-aging
– Alkaline Forming (beet greens)
– Antioxidant
– Cellular Regeneration
– Cigarette Addiction
– Cleansing
– Detoxifying
– Eyesight Problems
– Liver Problems
– Lung Disease Prevention
– Nicotine Cravings
– Skin Problems
– Smoker-related Conditions
– Vascular Disorders     
     
    
Overview:    

Beets, Beta vulgaris L. [Fam. Chenopodiaceae], 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. Dr. Douglas Heimburger of the University of Alabama discovered how critical folic acid is for warding off abnormal lung growths. By measuring folic acid levels in the lungs of men with and without lung abnormal growths, he discovered that patients with abnormal growths were more likely to have a localized deficiency of this B vitamin in their lung tissue. This lack leads to more chromosome breakage in cells, making them more vulnerable to the formation of abnormal growths. Smokers generally have much lower levels of folic acid in their blood than non-smokers, indicating a further predisposition to abnormal lung growths, partly due to a “vegetable deficiency”. Interestingly, high alkaline foods like beet greens also tend to “re-circulate” nicotine in the body, maintaining high levels of the addictive substance in the blood and therefore this food may lessen nicotine cravings and intake, according to Dr. David Daughton, a nicotine researcher at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Other foods that make urine more acid, like meat, tend to flush away nicotine, increasing cravings for cigarettes.
 
  
Active Ingredients:    

Beet roots contain: acetamide; adenine; adipic acid; Alanine; allantoin; aluminum; arginine; arsenic; ascorbic acid; 0.7-1.4% ash; Aspartic acid; barium; betaine; betanidine; betanine; boron; cadmium; calcium; 9.5-79.4% carbohydrate; beta carotene; chromium; citric acid; cobalt; coniferin; copper; Cystine; dioxymalonic acid; farnesol; 0.1-1.6% fat; 0.8-9.0% fiber; folacin; formaldehyde; GABA; galactose; glucose; 0.4-3.1% Glutamic acid; glutaric acid; Glycine; glycocerebroside; guanine; guanosine; heteroxanthin; hexosans; Histidine; homogentisinic acid; p-hydroxybenzoic acid; p-hydroxytyramine; hydrocaffeic acid; hypoxanthin; beta-indoleacetic acid; invertase; iron; Isoleucine; lead; Leucine; linoleic acid; alpha-linolenic acid; lithium; lysine; magnesium; manganese; melilotic acid; mercury; Methionine; molybdenum; mono-unsaturated fatty acids; miacin; nickel; nitrogen; oleanolic-acid-beta-D-glucopyranoside; oleic acid; ornithine; oxycitronic acid; D-alpha-oxyglutaric acid; Palmitic acid; pantothenic acid; pentosans; phenylalanine; phosphorus; phytosterols; potassium; praebetanine; proline; 1.3-14.3% protein; photoporphyrin; 0.05-0.4% polyunsaturated fatty acids; raffinose; riboflavin; rubidium; salicylic acid; selenium; serine; silicon; sodium; alpha-spinasterylglucoside; Stearic acid; strontium; 27% sucrose; sulfur; syringic acid; tartaric acid; thiamin; Threonine; tin; titanium; alpha-tocopherol; Tryptophan; tyrosine; Valine; vanillin; vitamin B6; 86.5-88.1% water; zinc; zirconium.
Beets, raw (Proximates per 100 grams of edible portion) contain: Water 88g; Protein 1.6g; Total lipid (fat) 0.2g; Carbohydrate, by difference 9.6g (mostly as starch); Fiber, total dietary 2.8g; Ash 1.1g; Minerals: Calcium, 16mg; Iron, 0.80mg; Magnesium, 23mg; Phosphorus, 40mg; Potassium, 325mg; Sodium 78mg; Zinc, 0.35mg; Copper, 0.08mg; Manganese, 0.33mg; Selenium, 0.7mcg; Vitamins: Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 4.9mg;
Thiamin 0.03mg; Riboflavin 0.04mg; Niacin 0.33mg; Pantothenic acid 0.15mg; Vitamin B-6 0.07mg; Folate, total (food) 109mcg; Vitamin A, 38 IU; Vitamin A, RE 4mcg;
Vitamin E (ate) 0.3mg. Phytosterols 25mg. Amino acids: Aspartic acid 0.12g; Glutamic acid 0.43g and others. USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 14 (July 2001).
 

Suggested Amount:    

Beets, including roots and greens, are generally eaten liberally as foods and are included in the diet as needed according to nutritional requirements.
       
    
Drug Interactions:    

None known.    
    
     
Contraindications:    

None known.    
   
     
Side Effects:    

None known.    
     
    
References:     
     
Carper, J. 1993. Food Your Miracle Medicine. HarperCollinsPublishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, New York 10022-5299. Pp. 1-528.
 
Diez M, Hornick JL, Baldwin P, Istasse L. 1997. Influence of a blend of fructo-oligosaccharides and sugar beet fiber on nutrient digestibility and plasma metabolite concentrations in healthy beagles. Am J Vet Res. 1997 Nov; 58(11): 1238-42.
 
Duke JA. 1992b. Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 93-95.
 
Hammond BR Jr, Johnson EJ, Russell RM, Krinsky NI, Yeum KJ, Edwards RB, Snodderly DM. 1997. Dietary modification of human macular pigment density. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1997 Aug; 38(9): 1795-801.