Which Vegetable is a Detoxifying Superstar? (Hint: It's Red and Yellow)

Have you ever wondered how you can best improve your digestion? Bile acids may not be something you have thought much about, but these powerful acids play a critical role in your digestive process. Bile acids are produced in the liver and subsequently stored in the gallbladder, then later released in the small intestine when you eat fatty foods. These bile acids are critical for the digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins in food. In addition, bile acids aid in the elimination and homeostasis of cholesterol as found in animal products. However, despite the body’s digestive requirements for adequate amounts of bile acids, excessive bile acids can buildup and later, lead to various health problems. Therefore, it is important that your bile acids are eliminated from your digestive tract to avoid the increased risk of disease.  

How can you detoxify the body to eliminate an excess of bile acids? One research group found that three key things were important. First, they tested various vegetables and found over a five-fold variability in their ability to bind bile acids. The binding capacity was not related to the fiber content, since the fiber levels for all the vegetables were similar. Was the higher bile binding ability in certain vegetables due to some type of combination of unique phytonutrients not discovered yet? 

Second, the researchers determined that after steaming vegetables, their ability to bind bile acids was significantly improved. This included the following veggies: peppers, broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens, cabbage, beets, eggplant, asparagus, carrots, green beans, and cauliflower. But which of these vegetables had the most ability to bind bile acids? It was the beets. (Kale and okra were a close second.) 

Third, their conclusion was that eating more beets – or really, including any amount of vegetables in your daily diet -- should be promoted. In fact, research shows that people who consume whole-food, plant-based diets have a lower risk of our two leading killers, heart disease and cancer, as well as lowering the risk of other degenerative diseases. In addition, a diet rich in vegetables can also help lower cholesterol levels and detoxify harmful dietary metabolites. 

Regardless of how you eat them – beets and other vegetables are an amazing addition to any whole-food, plant-based diet. Fresh beets can be grated into colorful salads or steamed beets can be blended into a delicious smoothie to reap all of the benefits that this bright root has to offer. 

Resources

  1. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-vegetable-binds-bile-best/