In recent years there has been a growing interest in the biological activity of red beetroot (Beta vulgaris rubra
) and its potential utility as a health promoting and disease preventing functional food. As a source of nitrate, beetroot ingestion provides a natural means of increasing in vivo
nitric oxide (NO) availability and has emerged as a potential strategy to prevent and manage pathologies associated with diminished NO bioavailability, notably hypertension and endothelial function. Beetroot is also being considered as a promising therapeutic treatment in a range of clinical pathologies associated with oxidative stress and inflammation. Its constituents, most notably the betalain pigments, display potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemo-preventive activity in vitro
and in vivo
. The purpose of this review is to discuss beetroot’s biological activity and to evaluate evidence from studies that specifically investigated the effect of beetroot supplementation on inflammation, oxidative stress, cognition and endothelial function.
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