Beetroot is a juicy, dark red root vegetable that is in the same botanic family as spinach and chard. It can be eaten both raw and cooked, and has a sweet, earthy flavour.
Not only is it delicious, beetroot is something that has long been thought of as being beneficial to health.
Since ancient times, beetroot has been used to treat a variety of conditions, from fever and constipation, to wounds and skin problems. The Romans even used it as an aphrodisiac!
Juicing beetroot gives you all the goodness in a concentrated form, and it is absorbed by the body much more quickly than if you ate and digested the whole vegetable.
So what is it about beetroot that makes it super healthy to juice?
The Good Stuff
- Nitrates - When we think of the word ‘nitrates’ is if often associates with a preservative found in processed food such as hot dogs, which is bad for health. However, the nitrates in beetroot are naturally occurring, and opposite from the synthetic additives, they have a positive effect on health. When we take in nitrates from beetroot juice, the body converts it to nitric oxide which has all sort of beneficial effects on the blood and blood vessels.
- Betalain is the pigment that gives beetroot it deep red colour, and it has lots of benefits to health. In addition to being an antioxidant, it has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.Betalain helps the body to get rid of toxins that we are all exposed to in the environment. It works to purify the bloodstream, allowing the liver to function better.
- Vitamins and Minerals – Beetroot juice is full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health, such as magnesium, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, zinc and selenium. Rich in vitamin C, beetroot juice give a boost to the immune system. Beetroot juice is a natural source of iron and folate, important for the development of the spinal cord of a foetus during pregnancy.
So How Does Drinking Beetroot Juice Benefit Our Health?
Positive Effect On Blood Pressure
Beetroot juice is effective in lowering blood pressure. One study showed a correlation between beetroot juice supplementation and a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure. The nitrates in beetroot juice have a dilating effect on the blood vessels, improving blood flow. Drinking beetroot juice has shown to reduce blood pressure in just a few hours.
Dementia & Brain Health
Another study researched how beetroot juice can have a positive effect on dementia. The flow of blood to some parts of the brain can slow down with age, which could be a contributing factor to the onset of dementia. It is suggested that the concentration of nitrates found in beetroot juice can improve the blood flow to those areas. The result showed an increase in blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain, essential to cognition and behavior, in participants who consumed a high nitrate diet, including beetroot juice.
Beetroot juice contains a host of antioxidants, such as betalain, that helps to protect cells from free-radical damage. Free radicals are harmful molecules that build up in our bodies, caused by chemicals in our environment and also as a by-product of converting the food we eat into energy. Free radicals can cause damage to cells and affect how they function, leading to health problems and disease. Antioxidants work toinhibit the action of free radicals and help to protect the cells from damage.
One study showed that betalain, one of the antioxidants in beetroot juice, may help prevent or inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. The results show promise, however more funding and research is needed.
Beetroot juice is a good detoxifier, helping the liver cells to get rid of toxins that build up in the body. It can also help to get rid of fatty deposits in the liver, caused by a lack of exercise, poor diet or excessive alcohol consumption.
Glutathione is an antioxidant that the body produces to remove toxins that build up, and almost every cell in the body uses it. Low glutathione levels can mean that toxins stay in the body, potentially causing problems later. Beetroot juice increases the amount of glutathione produced in the body, so toxins are flushed out more efficiently.
Good for Heart Health
Beetroot juice helps to keep your heart healthy bylowering the bad cholesterol that restricts blood flow through the arteries.Beetroot juice is high in potassium, and this helps to clear the walls of the blood vessels from a build-up of ‘plaque’, reducing the chances of clots forming. This lowers the risk of developing heart related conditions and strokes.
People with diabetes often suffer from high blood pressure, so they may benefit from the dilating effects that beetroot juice has on the blood vessels.
Beetroot juice contains alpha-lipoc acid. This is an antioxidant that lowers glucose levels, and may help to reduce nerve damage. However, this study suggests that a positive effect on the nerves might only occur if alpha-lipoc acid is introduced by injection, rather than consuming it.
People with anaemia or low iron may feel weak and low on energy.Iron is essential in forming haemoglobin, which is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body. Beetroot juice is a rich source of iron, and drinking it helps replenish the body’s supply of haemoglobin.
Because beetroot juice is good for replenishing haemoglobin, it is also beneficial for women who have menstrual disorders, such as heavy or prolonged periods.
Drinking beetroot juice can help to improve stamina by improving how the muscles use oxygen during exercise.One study showed that beetroot juice improved the performance of cyclists time trials, compared with those that did not drink the beetroot juice. This suggests that drinking beetroot juice can improve physical capabilities and energy.
If you want to use beetroot juice to get the best out of your performance, drink it two hours before you exercise. This is when the energy boosting effects are at its peak.
Beetroot juice made with the greens contains tryptophan which helps to relax the mind. It also contains betaine, which boosts the production of serotonin in the brain and may be helpful in treating depression.
Eye and Skin Health
Drinking beetroot juice may help in preventing age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. This is due to the beta carotene, a form of vitamin A that is good for eye health, and luten, which helps maintain the retina.
Beetroot juice also helps to keep your skin looking good. Its anti-inflammatory action soothes and reduces spots and skin conditions such as acne. The detoxifying effect of beetroot juice improves the complexion.
Lycopene is a substance found in beetroot, and it helps to maintain skin elasticity. Beetroot juice can be directly applied to the skin as a refreshing cleanser.
How To Take Beetroot Juice
For the most nutritional benefits, juice raw beetroot. Use the whole plant when juicing. The green tops are full of healthy nutrients and vitamins A, C and K.
Choose the freshest beetroots to juice, as they will retain the most nutrients. Smaller beetroots are usually the sweetest.
The flavor of beetroot juice mixes well with celery, carrot, and cucumber. It also works with orange, ginger and mint.
You don’t need to drink a lot of beetroot juice to get the beneficial effects. It is important to start slowly, as the detoxifying effects are powerful. Try juicing half of a raw beetroot to begin with and see how your body reacts. If you have no adverse effects, start with a quarter of a cup, then gradually increase to up to two cups. Drinking too much beetroot juice can actually make some conditions worse, so don’t overdo it.
Things To Factor In Before Consuming Beetroot Juice
- Drinking beetroot juice might turn your urine or stools a red color. This can be quite alarming if you are not aware of it!
- If you have low blood pressure, drinking beetroot juice can lower it further. Only drink in moderation, and monitor your blood pressure afterwards.
- Beetroot juice contains oxalates, which contribute to the formation of calcium deposits in urine. If you are prone to kidney stones, do not consume beetroot juice.
- The juice of beetroot is a natural dye, and will stain most things it contacts. Wash chopping boards and appliances as soon as possible after use to prevent staining.
With all of these amazing health benefits wrapped up in this humble root vegetable, it’s no wonder more people are keen to try juicing beetroot. Try adding some beetroot juice to your diet or juicing regime, and see the difference!