7 – Beetroot for bone health
Silica for bones
Root vegetables such as beetroot are a good source of dietary silicon. Silica is found in almost all body tissue, which includes the bones. Although silica levels are most important in our senior years as it prevents bone decalcification, levels of silica have a tendency to decrease as we get older. The silica in beetroot helps in utilizing calcium, which is important for reducing osteoporosis risk. Silica also helps to prevents the deterioration of connective tissue such as collagen, vital for the tensile strength of bones. One study has confirmed a positive association between dietary silicon intake and bone mineral density.
Silica vs silicon
Although the terms silica and silicon are often made use of interchangeably, the difference is that silica is the oxide form of silicon, and is often called silicon dioxide (SiO2), which then gets shortened to silicon.
Manganese for bones
Beetroot also is also high in the trace mineral manganese, which is necessary for bone and cartilage connective tissue synthesis, and helps prevent bone density loss.
Manganese is needed for the production of chondroitin sulfate, an important structural component of cartilage. Together with the enzyme osteocalcin, chondroitin sulfate forms the connective tissue necessary for healthy bones and joints. Some studies have shown an association between chondroitin and pain relief in osteoarthritis patients. A combination of manganese and other minerals, which include calcium, can help in reducing bone loss, particularly in postmenopausal women who are more susceptible to weak bones and fractures.