17 Health Benefits of Beetroot (and Beet Juice): Number 2 Can Be Life Saving
Beet is a nutrition powerhouse packed with fiber, folate, manganese, potassium, vitamin C and iron that make this root crop popular despite its strong earthy flavor.
When you combine the benefits of these nutrients, it helps improve blood flow to the muscles and lower blood pressure. The former helps improve athletic performance.
Athletes all over the world drink beet juice to naturally increase their muscle endurance.
Most of these benefits can be traced to the rich inorganic nitrate content.
This root crop belongs to the chenopod family of foods that also include spinach, quinoa, and chard.
Beet root is distinguished by color. The most common types are yellow, white, pink and dark purple (see photo below).
And there is a lot to like about beetroot.
It contains epoxyxanthophylls carotenoids, yellow betalains pigment and phytonutrients that benefit the nervous system. This combination of nutrients is what gives the chenopod family its unique health benefits not found in other food groups.
And while there isn’t a large scale study on humans that will determine how much of it you should eat, experts recommend to add this food group to your meals at least 1 to 2 times a week.
A little history…
They grew wild along the European and Asian seashore. During these prehistoric times, people restricted their eating to beet leaves and not their roots.
The first people to cultivate and use beetroots were the Ancient Romans. Later, with the help of the tribes that settled in Rome, their use was spread across Northern Europe .
Beets became more appreciated in the 19th century after they discovered that these are a highly concentrated source of sugar .
Currently, the United States, France, Germany, Poland, and the Russian Federation are the leading commercial growers of beets.
Despite its availability year round, beet is still a seasonal crop.
Benefits of beet are many!
Beet is a rich source of nutrients like iron, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, manganese and copper .
You can add beet to soups, salads or pickles. It’s also a good coloring agent. There is a good reason to start adding this delicious vegetable to your daily diet.
You can also add this to your green juice!
Scroll down to see what these benefits are.
Here are the 17 health benefits of this sweet and earthy root crop
1. Has Anti-Cancer Properties
Research shows that when administered in drinking water, beetroot extracts reduce multi-organ tumor formations in different animal models.
The powerful phytonutrients responsible for the deep color in beets is the one that wards off cancer .
Other studies have revealed that the betacyanin pigment found in beets counteracts cancerous cells thus preventing lung, colon and skin cancers. This pigment also shows promising results against lab- grown breast cancer cells [5, 6, 7].
Betalains is a group of powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agents that fight free radical and inflammation related illnesses such as obesity, heart disease and cancer.
Beet also contains betacyaninis that was shown in a study done on mice to inhibit cancer growth.
However Steven Novella, a contributor at Science Based Medicine says that Beetroot does not cure cancer. He says that even if you starve cancer cells of sugar it will find another energy source .
This is a highly debated topic with both sides having compelling arguments. The best way is prevention through diet and the right exercise.
2. Improves Blood Pressure
Beet contain nitrates that turns to nitric oxide. This helps in relaxing and dilating blood vessels, de-clogging it to allow oxygen and nutrients to flow more freely.
This brings about better circulation, and most probably lower blood pressure.
According to a small study done in 2012, thirteen, men who drank a glass of beetroot juice recorded a lower systolic blood pressure by about 4 to 5 points .
Another study done in 2008 showed that people who took beetroot juice recorded a 10 mm Hg decrease in both blood pressure and blood clotting just three hours later, compared to individuals who simply drank water .
3. Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
Beets are high in a plant alkaloid known as betaine and folate- the B-vitamin, which when together helps to lower the blood levels of homocysteine, responsible for the increase of heart disease and artery damage when in high levels [11, 12, 13].
Beet fibers help to reduce cholesterol as well as triglycerides by raising the levels of HDL-cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol level). High levels of triglycerides heighten the risk of contracting heart-related conditions, so DHL acts as a good defense against that .
4. Boosts Energy Levels
Have you ever asked yourself why when elite athletes pee to get a drug test, the color of their pee turns out to be crimson?
Well, it is because most of them eat beets which contain compounds that turn urine pink.
According to research nitrates contained in beets boost endurance performance.
In a study, cyclists who took beet juice managed to pedal 15 percent longer to exhaustion in a time trial.
Also, beets contain high sources of carbohydrates which provide energy for prolonged sports activities.
When the body has sufficient supply of carbohydrates, it can nourish all the necessary bodily functions including the vital metabolic reactions that enable your organ systems to work efficiently [15, 16].
5. Cleanses the Liver
The liver has a difficult task of riding the body of toxins.
A daily serving of beetroot can lighten this load! Research reveals that betaine, the amino acid present in beets and spinach and quinoa as well, can aid in the prevention and reduction of fat accumulation in the liver.
One study revealed that rats that took beetroom juice had increased detoxifying enzymes within their bloodstream.
Research done on people with diabetes revealed that betaine improved liver function, reduced liver size and slightly decreased cholesterol .
6. Boosts Brain Function
Nitric oxide found in beets relaxes and dilates the blood vessels, which then increases the flow of blood to the brain, thus resulting in better brain function.
This is particularly important as one age.
Research show that the ability to generate nitric oxide decreases as we age, together with the brain’s energy metabolism as well as neuron activity. Therefore, beets will give your brain some boost!
In a small study done in 2010, 14 men and women [averagely 74 years] who took a high-nitrate diet that included beet juice recorded increased blood flow to their brain’s frontal lobe than when they consumed a low-nitrate diet.
The frontal lobe is the region known to execute functioning skills like focus, attention to detail, and organization .
7. Contains Anti-Aging Properties
Eating beets is among the best ways to cleanse your digestive tract as well as the blood of built-up contaminants that occur due to diet and lifestyle leading to high inflammation.
The high antioxidant levels in beets help to naturally slow aging .
8. Balances pH levels
Beetroots help to balance the PH levels and alkalize the body too.
The PH scale determines the levels of acidity versus alkalinity with 7 being neutral and 7.1 to 14 being alkaline.
Most diseases thrive in acidic environments, so the body should be slightly alkaline. Many whole foods like vegetables and fruits can easily help to achieve this.
Consuming more of the alkaline-forming foods like beetroot can protect your body from illnesses that commonly occur as one gets older.
This is because of their ability to reduce inflammation.
Beetroot is also an excellent source of fiber, which aids in the proper functioning of the digestive system and even helps in weight loss, another important aspect that people struggle with as they get older .
9. May Prevent Macular Degeneration
Beet is rich in carotenoids that protects the eyes from age-related conditions like Macular Degeneration.
The study though was done on primates and not humans but the study did mention that “the region of monkey retinas where carotenoids and vitamin E are both low corresponds with a locus where early signs of AMD often appear in humans” .
Don’t ignore beet greens too because this part is rich in lutein that also protects the eyes from macular degeneration .
Why you should take beetroot juice
Raw beets contain:
- 58 calories
- 2grams protein
- 2 percent calcium
- 11 percent vitamin C
- 15 percent vitamin A
- 6 percent iron
- 13 grams carbohydrates
For a long time folks used beet juice to treat the following:
- various skin conditions
- lymphatic circulation
The remarkable health benefits of beetroot are most useful when enjoyed raw as fresh juice.
Beet juice can kill fungi. It also has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Here are reasons why you should start juicing your beetroots.
1. Beet Juice as a Detoxifier
Beetroot juice is a powerful detox drink that stimulates liver cells to help it remove harmful toxins.
2. Beet Juice Protects from Premature Aging
There are many products available on the market that claim to protect the skin from the damage caused by free radicals.
However, beet juice does a fantastic job protecting you from the inside out.
Beets contain antioxidants that protect your skin by neutralizing these free radicals.
The lycopene found in beet juice helps in maintaining the elasticity of the skin as it protects it from the sun .
3. Beetroot Juice can Aid in Improving Digestion and Preventing Constipation
Beet juice helps to trigger the intestines and breakdown food. Take half a cup of the juice before meals or every time you have an irritated stomach.
The high digestive properties of beets make them an excellent natural cure for constipation .
4. Improves Cardiovascular Health
According to a research published in 2014 a diet containing inorganic nitrates from beetroot juice can significantly lower blood pressure, boost the delivery of oxygen to the heart, improve the duration of exercise and enhance the health of the blood vessels .
5. Beet Juice for the Treatment of Iron Deficiency and Anemia
Red beetroots contain significant amounts of iron.
Drinking juice made from these beets helps in the rebirth of red blood cells thus helping in the treatment and prevention of anemia.
6. Good for Muscles
According to research, drinking beetroot juice leads to increased muscle strength and power.
This is the reason why many athletes include this juice into their daily diets to achieve excellent athletic results .
7. Rich in Inorganic Nitrates
Despite concerns of some that these can cause cancer , research reveals that a diet rich in nitrates have have beneficial results, particularly lowering blood pressure and the decreased risk to other diseases.
Dietary nitrates works like a messenger that delivers molecule called nitric oxide. These travels through the artery walls and telling them to relax. When these muscles relax, blood pressure goes down [34, 35, 36].
8. All-Natural Aphrodisiac
According to Men’s Journal that the nitric oxide found in beet improves blood flow to the entire body, increased blood flow means more oxygen. This translates to more blood flow to your penis which translates to sustained erections and a better sex life .
So before popping Viagra or Cialis both of which have side effects, you may want to consider drinking a cup of beet juice every day.
Some delicious beet juice recipes that you can try
Now that you now know the health benefits of beet juice, here are some of the ways you can enjoy it.
Green and Red Juice
- 1 large organic beetroot, peeled and quartered
- 8 organic carrots
- 2 natural romaine lettuce hearts
- 2 natural celery hearts – rinsed and ends cut
Put all the ingredients in a blender and juice to your desired smoothness.
Beet and Pineapple Delight
Pineapple also helps in fighting inflammation
1 medium organic beet
1 organic apple
I cup fresh pineapple
Wash all ingredients and blend. Enjoy!
Ginger gives this juice a nice zippy taste tasty while the beets make it extra sweet.
- 2 organic medium beetroots cut in wedges
- 1 piece of ginger
- 2 large organic carrots
- ½ lemons with pith and zest removed
Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy!
Vitamin C Boost Beetroot Juice
This delicious juice will provide your immune system with the boost it badly needs.
- 1 large organic beet
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 medium oranges
- a couple of kale leaves
Blend all the ingredients and enjoy!
Important Facts about Beets
Beets have a lot of benefits as I’ve highlighted in this article. But before adding this into your diet here are some potential side effects that you should know about.
1. Beet juice has non-harmful effects of turning urine and stool red.
2. Even though when taken in moderation beet juice can help with iron deficiency, anemia and even help detoxify the liver, too much of this juice is likely to have adverse effects on all of those.
As noted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, beets and other freshly-squeezed vegetables and fruits can produce dangerous bacteria in the juice.
Remember, you only require small amounts of the juice to rip the benefits.
3. People who have suffered from kidney stones should avoid taking beet juice.
This is because beets contain high amounts of oxalates that may promote the formation of kidney stones in susceptible individuals.
4. The large amounts of oxalate in beets can lead to the development of gout- a kind of arthritis that occurs when there is too much uric acid build up in the body.
5. Beet juice should be taken raw because the most advantageous substances (like betalains) get lost when cooked.
Beet contains oxalic acid that turns toxic when cooked but beneficial when taken raw in moderation.
These are the sentiments of juice and nutrition specialists Dr. Walker, Gabriel Cousins and David Wolfe.
6. Juice the roots plus the greens. Beet greens are the most nutrient-rich parts of this vegetable and provide remarkable health benefits.
So, how much should you take per day to rip the health benefits of beet juice?
Different medical studies and researches recommend different daily doses with most recommendations varying from ¼ cup to 2 cups of beet juice a day.
I would advise that you start with a small dose as you watch how the body reacts to it. In case you don’t experience any harmful side effects, then you can slightly increase the dosage.
So, do you already love beets and eat them regularly or you are hesitant on trying them out? Whichever the case, I hope the above reasons have helped you in a way.
Feel free to share the article and let us know what you think about the list and health benefits of beetroot in general.