Red beets attribute their vibrant red color to a unique group of antioxidants called betacyanins. These antioxidants have the ability to neutralize harmful and damaging molecules called free radicals. Certain free radicals cause oxidative stress that can be hazardous. The stress causes damage to key cellular structures such as DNA, cell membranes, or proteins. These uncommon antioxidants have garnered the interest of the science world where they are being researched for protection against oxidative stress related disorders.**
The unique antioxidants, betacyanins, were once thought to be similar to anthocyanins, the dark pigments found in grapes, but were later proven to have very different structures. While these antioxidants may be similar in color, they are structurally very different and the two have never been found in the same plant.
Along with these antioxidants red beets also contain naturally occurring betaine and nitrates. Two compounds that are the reason red beets and beet juice is also being studied for possible support of cardiovascular health and for energy.**