On Thursday, I wrote on my list of things to do “Fix institutional food,” complete with a little square box to check.
My butcher shop has started selling locally grown produce, including fresh beets. I bought some and dreaded peeling them – but I found a recipe that avoids peeling until after they’re roasted, when you can just pull it off with a paper towel. Delicious, earthy tasting and sweet.
But I’m low carb –- let’s look that up.
OK, good news! D. Babarykin et al tells us in The Journal of Biosciences and Medicines: “Recently, the effect of red beet on carbohydrate metabolism, in particular, the dynamics of glycemia, both in normal conditions and in diabetes, is being actively studied. According to the morphological and biochemical results obtained in the experiment in streptozotocin-diabetic rats, the extract of Beta vulgaris cicla, when administered by gavage, reduces blood glucose levels by regeneration of the pancreatic beta-cells. Consumption of soluble dietary fiber is correlated with decreased postprandial glucose and insulin responses and hence has beneficial effects on metabolic syndrome. Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris cicla) extracts exhibit hypo-glycaemic activity. In an Australian study sixteen healthy individuals were recruited to consume the test meals in a controlled single-blind cross-over design. Results revealed a significant decrease of the postprandial insulin response in the early phase (0 – 60 min) and a significantly lower glucose response in the 0 – 30 min phase (P < 0.05) after red beetroot juice consumption.” Hurray for beets!
They say, “Beets have been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years to treat constipation, gut and joint pain, dandruff. Modern pharmacology shows that red beet extracts exhibit antihypertensive and hypoglycaemic activity as well as excellent antioxidant activity.“
That study also lauded the humble beetroot for help with all kinds of problems, looking at “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemo-preventive Beta vulgaris phytochemical activity, its impact on gastrointestinal and cardiovascular system as well as endurance exercise performance. […] Fractionated red beetroot juice on the molecular mass basis is prospective for senile sarcopenia as well as senile cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease prevention.”
Alzheimer’s? Yup. Alzheimer’s & Dementia Weekly reports, “We can’t say that betanin stops the misfolding completely, but we can say that it reduces oxidation.[…] Less oxidation could prevent misfolding to a certain degree, perhaps even to the point that it slows the aggregation of beta-amyloid peptides, which is believed to be the ultimate cause of Alzheimer’s.”
Being Patient.com says, “A compound found in beets that give them their distinctive red color may also hold the key to stopping the processes in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s, according to research presented by scientists from the University of South Florida. The compound is called betanin. In tests, scientists showed that it helped suppress the misfolding of proteins called beta-amyloid, which accumulate and form into toxic plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.”
Shokouhsadat Hamedi et al say, “Beet has been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years to treat a variety of diseases such as constipation, decreased libido, gut and joint pain and dandruff.
“This plant is known in Iranian traditional medicine (ITM) as Selgh (Arabic) or Choghondar (Farsi) and its leaves are used to develop treatments. Results confirmed that the plant referred to as Selgh in traditional books is that the plant Beta vulgaris in contemporary studies. Treatments that have not been evaluated in modern phytotherapy but do appear in traditional treatments include fever, as well as psychological and psychiatric issues.”
So by the time I get to drbeetroot.ca, I’m ready to believe their claim: “Beetroot is not just an vegetable. It is the next Super Food. Read below the interesting benefits that you can get from Beets.
Lowering Blood Pressure / hypertension
Boosting Stamina by reducing O2 use
Anemia and low blood hemoglobin
Reducing Obesity & Overweight
Fighting against Cancer
Glandular fever – Epstein Barr virus
Brain function and age related neurological problems
Detoxifying the liver.”
Fix institutional food? Add beets. Check.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Weekly. (2018.) “How Beets Beat Alzheimer’s.” From http://www.alzheimersweekly.com/2018/03/beet-alzheimers-with-betanin.html
Babarykin, D. et al. (2019.) “Red Beet (Beta vulgaris) Impact on Human Health.” From https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation.aspx?paperid=91009
Being Patient.com (2018.) “Compound Found in Beets Might Help Prevent Alzheimer’s.” From https://www.beingpatient.com/beets-alzheimers/?fbclid=IwAR1QemzwnMI962UbqdWMQfvXYgbrP1450HgK_pY0RM_t4RXzGQQcmofz7GQ
drbeetroot.ca (N.D.) From https://drbeetroot.ca/pages/why-beets
Hamedi, S. (2018.) “Beta vulgaris – A Mini Review of Traditional Uses in Iran, Phytochemistry and Pharmacology.” From https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323661607_Beta_vulgaris_-_A_Mini_Review_of_Traditional_Uses_in_Iran_Phytochemistry_and_Pharmacology