Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Healing Power of BETALAINS

Betalains are a class of red and yellow indole-derived pigments found in plants. They are most noticeable in the petals of flowers, but they also color the fruits, leaves, stems, and roots of plants as well. They include powerful antioxidant pigments such as those found in beets, rainbow chard and the fruit of the nopal cactus. Betalains are an incredibly powerful, all natural anti-inflammatory and produce no known side effects.
Although they were previously thought to be a pigment to add color to plants, it is now evident that their protein structure is extremely beneficial as well as vital to life. It is their antioxidant value that imparts so many health benefits. Sources of betalains are beets (up to 6 of the 24 known betalains), rainbow chard (up to 12 of the 24 known betalains) and some desert plants such as nopal opuntia cactus (contains a very high concentration of all 24 of the known naturally occurring betalains). Hundreds of scientific studies have shown the incredible health benefits available through these powerful antioxidants.
Betalains assist the body in a total transformation by neutralizing toxins and supporting the cell’s natural detoxification process. By preventing toxins from accumulating and preserving the integrity of the cell, chronic inflammation can be avoided. Betalains also reduce the enzymes responsible for causing inflammation. This protein/antioxidant complex greatly assists in improved health and a longer life.
There are twenty four (24) separate components, and each one supplies a specific structure and function to every cell. They provide a reward system for cells distressed by toxins and internal deficiencies. This helps to counteract premature aging by strengthening the cell wall. As a result the cell is rehydrated.
These components also provide a mineral balancing function with a 2:1 ratio of minerals: potassium inside the cell, sodium outside the cell, and magnesium inside the cell, and calcium outside the cell and on and on in this fashion. The integrity of the cell is thus maintained.
The only known source of all 24 naturally occurring betalains is the fruit of the nopal cactus (nopal opuntia). Betalains give the fruit of the cactus its vibrant pink color. The anti-inflammatory properties of the fruit of the nopal cactus are legendary and significantly aid the body's ability to fight many inflammation related diseases. Recent research has shown that chronic inflammation is a serious health problem for a high percentage of the population and increasing at alarming rates.
Research has shown that chronic inflammation can lead to:
•Neurological Diseases
•Autoimmune Diseases
•Pulmonary Diseases
When you take betalains into your system they begin to restore your vitality on a cellular level. By helping the body reduce the toxins surrounding your cells and enabling essential nutrients to reach each cell, the betalains reduce the inflammation in your body that leads to disease.
Scientific research shows that betalains help to:

•Reduce the risk of blood clots—betalains protect the thin lining of your blood vessels; this helps reduce the inflammation that makes your blood sticky and leads to clots.1

Reduce bad cholesterol—betalains strongly reduce oxidized LDL cholesterol.2

•Protect cells from toxins—betalains protect many types of cells, especially brain cells, from toxins known to trigger tumors.3

•Protect your liver—betalains provide significant protection from toxins that directly affect your liver.4

1 - “Antioxidant betalains from cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) inhibit endothelial ICAM-1 expression.” C Gentile, L Tesoriere, M Allegra, M A Livrea, P D’Alessio Dipartimento Farmacochimico, Tossicologico e Biologico, Universit√† di Palermo, Italy.
2 - Allegra M, Tesoriere L, Livrea MA. Free Radic Res. 2007 Mar;41(3):335-41.
3 - Lee MH, Kim JY, Yoon JH, Lim HJ, Kim TH, Jin C, Kwak WJ, Han CK, Ryu JH. Phytother Res. 2006 Sep;20(9):742-7.
4 - Galati EM, Mondello MR, Lauriano ER, Taviano MF, Galluzzo M, Miceli N. Phytother Res. 2005 Sep;19(9):796-800.

Betalains are incredably effective in helping the body maintain wellness and prevent chronic health problems. Prevention is always preferable when dealing with health issues, fighting disease once it becomes established in the body is much more difficult. Betalains are a powerful tool in our quest for maintaining overall wellness.
Scientific studies have shown many health benefits betalains provide. Research is ongoing into the benefits available when betalains are consistently included in the diet.
Here are a few links to more of the research showing the immense health benefits of these powerful, natural supplements:

Betalain antioxidant research.

Antioxidant betalains from cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) inhibit endothelial ICAM-1 expression.

How betalains behave after ingestion.

Distribution of betalain pigments in red blood cells after consumption of cactus pear fruits and increased resistance of the cells to ex vivo induced oxidative hemolysis in humans.

How betalains effect cholesterol.

Absorption, excretion, and distribution of dietary antioxidant betalains in LDLs: potential health effects of betalains in humans.

More on the antioxidant power of betalains.

Antioxidant activities of sicilian prickly pear (Opuntia ficus indica) fruit extracts and reducing properties of its betalains: betanin and indicaxanthin.

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