Nutritional and functional potential of Beta vulgaris cicla and rubra
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Fitoterapia. 2013 Sep;89:188-99. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Jun 7. Nutritional and functional potential of Beta vulgaris cicla and rubra. Ninfali P1, Angelino D. 1Department of Biomolecular Sciences, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino (PU), Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org
Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris cicla, BVc) and beetroot (Beta vulgaris rubra, BVr) are vegetables of the Chenopodiaceae family, widely consumed in traditional western cooking.
These vegetables represent a highly renewable and cheap source of nutrients. They can be cultivated in soils with scarce organic material and little light and water.
BVc and BVr have a long history of use in folk medicine. Modern pharmacology shows that BVc extracts possess antihypertensive and hypoglycaemic activity as well as excellent antioxidant activity.
BVc contains apigenin flavonoids, namely vitexin, vitexin-2-O-rhamnoside and vitexin-2-O-xyloside, which show antiproliferative activity on cancer cell lines.
BVr contains secondary metabolites, called betalains, which are used as natural dyes in food industry and show anticancer activity. I
n this light, BVc and BVr can be considered functional foods. Moreover, the promising results of their phytochemicals in health protection suggest the opportunity to take advantage of the large availability of this crop for purification of chemopreventive molecules to be used in functional foods and nutraceutical products.