Betalains are alkaloid phytonutrients found in plants. They are water soluble pigments that determine the colors of some plants.
There are two subtypes of betalains: betacyanins (for example, betanin) that cause reddish to violet colors, and betaxanthins (for example, vulgaxanthin and indicaxanthin) that cause yellow to orange colors.
Fruits: prickly pear (nopal fruit), and red dragon fruit (Pitaya).
Vegetables: amaranth, beets, rhubarb, and Swiss chard.
- They are antioxidants.
- Stimulate detoxifying enzymes in the liver.
- Have anti-inflammatory activities.
- Reduce the risk of blood clotting.
- Protect cells, especially brain cells, from carcinogenic toxins.
- Are used as food-coloring agents to color meats, sausage and ice cream.