Beets are a fairly common root vegetable, but they are by no means average when it comes to nutrition. This earthy superfood is one of the best blood purifiers and blood builders, instrumental in the production of red blood cells. Though beets have been eaten for years, the benefits of beet juice are much less well known, but are just as profound.
Early on, beets were used primarily for their greens (which are also extremely nutritious), but by the 19th century the natural sweetness of beets was discovered and beets began to be used as a sugar source. Today, beets are a common ingredient to the production of sugar (unfortunately these beets are most often genetically modified), but many people are missing out on using the whole vegetable and the benefits that it provides.
Beet Juice Nutrition
Beet juice is filled with a variety of essential nutrients that are beneficial to your health. It contains vitamins like vitamin A, C, B6, B1 and B2 as well as betalains, an antioxidant. Other nutrients in beet juice include calcium, sulfur, chlorine, copper, iodine, bioflavonoids and potassium. Beet juice is also a good source of dietary fiber, niacin, folic acid, biotin and magnesium.
Health Benefits of Beet Juice
Lower Your Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that drinking beet juice may help to lower your blood pressure in as little as a few hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure (which is the top number of your blood pressure reading) by an average of 4 to 5 points in men. This lower blood pressure lasted for roughly 24 hours.
This is due to the naturally occurring nitrates that are found in beets. These nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the body, which helps to relax and dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Having a lower blood pressure as well as improved blood flow means less chance of strokes, heart attacks or other cardiovascular diseases.
Improve Athletic Performance
Need a bit of a boost to get you through your workout? Then try drinking beet juice beforehand. A study found that those who drank beet juice prior to exercising were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer, improving their stamina levels.
In a small study in 2008, eight men drank 500 milliliters of beet juice daily for six days before undergoing a series of fitness tests. The results showed that the men were able to perform for an average of 92 seconds longer compared to their previous time when they did not drink the beet juice.
This benefit is, once again, from the natural nitrates found in beets. Once the nitrates are converted into nitric oxide they can help reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance the body’s ability to tolerate a high-intensity exercise.
Beet juice is extremely beneficial to pregnant women due to the folic acid that it contains. Folic acid prevents various birth defects and even provides the baby with a healthy pink skin tone. It also aids in proper development of the baby’s spinal cord as well as tissue growth. Pregnant women should check with their doctor first, but beet juice could be an extremely beneficial aid to their baby’s health (and their own!).
Beet juice can also help the body in the detoxification process. During the second phase of detoxification, the broken down toxins are bound to molecules to be excreted. The betalin found in beet juice can help to speed up this process, making it easier for your body to bind the toxins to molecules.
Another benefit of beet juice is its ability to purify the liver as well as your blood. The toxins in our blood end up in our liver, which tends to suffer under the strain of all those toxins. Beet juice helps to keep the blood pure of toxins, giving the liver a bit of a break!
One of the biggest benefits of drinking beet juice are the studies that show beet juice can help to ward off cancer. Beet juice contains betacyanin (which gives beets their deep red color). This helps to prevent the formation of cancerous tumors and can also help to detox the body of harmful toxins. There has been research conducted for leukemia, colon, lung, skin, liver, spleen, breast, prostate and testicular cancer, all which have shown success in terms of fighting against cancer cells. In fact, a German study found that beet juice was rated as the most popular alternative cancer treatment.
Beet juice also contains antioxidants, both flavonoids and carotenoids, which help to fight off damaging free radicals, preventing cancerous cells from developing.
How To Enjoy The Benefits of Beet Juice
Beets are best known for their earthy taste, so when it comes to juicing beets, you may want to add another fruit to the mix to balance the taste. However it is important to remember that beets are high in natural sugar, which will create an insulin response. If you do decide to drink straight beet juice you may want to eat something like nuts along with it to slow down the insulin reaction.
To enjoy the beet’s dietary fiber you are better off blending the entire beet along with other ingredients to make more of a smoothie drink. This will allow you to ingest the entire vegetable and help to retain the heart-healthy fiber that can be lost in the juicing process.
Orange-Apple Beet Juice Recipe
•1 medium orange, peeled and quartered
•3 kale leaves
•1 medium apple, cut into wedges
•1 medium carrot, cut into thirds
•1 large beet, peeled and cut into wedges
•1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
•Ice cubes (optional)
1. Juice the ingredients in the order shown.
2. Pour juice into two glasses filled with ice cubes.
3. Stir to distribute flavors.
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