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Betalains are alkaloid phytonutrients found in plants. They are Betalains 1 Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition caasnwater 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.

Food Sources:

Fruits: prickly pear (nopal fruit), and red dragon fruit (Pitaya).

Vegetables: amaranth, beets, rhubarb, and Swiss chard.

Health Benefits:

  1. They are antioxidants.
  2. Stimulate detoxifying enzymes in the liver.
  3. Have anti-inflammatory activities.
  4. Reduce the risk of blood clotting.
  5. Protect cells, especially brain cells, from carcinogenic toxins.
  6. Are used as food-coloring agents to color meats, sausage and ice cream.