Benefits of beetroot (beta vulgaris)
- Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Supports cardiovascular health
Since the 1970s, traditional treatment for inflammatory disorders has been non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). However, these drugs, particularly in chronic doses, may actually have harmful consequences for health and evoke negative side effects. Above all, they have been deemed ineffective in the treatment of many inflammatory-related conditions. Consequently, focus has shifted towards the anti-inflammatory effects of natural food sources and their potential use as alternatives to synthetic NSAID treatments.
Beetroot is an exceptionally rich source of antioxidants (most notably betalain pigments - responsible for the deep red colour of beetroots). Betalains have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They inhibit specific signalling pathways that play a role in inflammatory diseases.
After 10 days of supplementation with beetroot extract, patients experiencing OA symptoms all reported reduced pain. Interestingly, supplementation with the beetroot extract reduced serum inflammatory markers too. This study showed that ingestion of beetroot extract had a beneficial effect on pain associated with OA conditions.1
Supports cardiovascular health
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have a reduced life expectancy when compared with the general population, largely attributable to cardiovascular disease. Factors that contribute to this increased cardiovascular risk include traditional risk factors, which account for only part of the excess, along with manifestations of the disease itself.
RA is characterised by inflammation, which also is a key component in the development of atherosclerosis. Inflammation that causes damage to the endothelial cells is a key underlying mechanism for the onset and development of inflammation-related chronic disorders such as atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular diseases. Endothelial dysfunction is an early preclinical marker of atherosclerosis, and is commonly found in patients with RA.
The powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and vascular-protective effects offered by beetroot have been clearly demonstrated by several in vitro and in vivo human and animal studies; hence its increasing popularity as a nutritional approach to help manage cardiovascular disease.
Endothelial function was significantly improved in patients with RA following beetroot juice consumption for 2 weeks.2
- Pietrzkowski, Z., et al. (2010) Influence of betalain-rich extract on reduction of discomfort associated with osteoarthritis. New Medicine, 14, 12–17. Biblioteka Narodowa.
- Stavropoulos, A., et al. (20 Effects of beetroot juice supplementation n endothelial function and markers of inflammation among patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, vol. 76, supp. 2, 1536–1537, BMJ.