Beet Juice – Benefits, Side Effects & Recipe
One of the more popular health juices on the market is beet juice, thanks to its incredible wealth of nutrients, including minerals, vitamins, fiber and unique antioxidants. Beet juice is derived from the beetroot, which is the taproot of the beet plant, bearing the scientific name Beta vulgaris. Beets have been an important cultural and culinary element for thousands of years, stretching back across European history and beyond. These plants have long been cultivated for their bright-red taproots, and were known early on for their potential medicinal uses.
Beet juice is a very common way of enjoying this root vegetable’s health potential, as it extracts a high level of the nutrients from the beet, and is relatively pleasant to drink. As mentioned above, the capacity of this juice to improve certain medical conditions made it a cure-all tonic in many older cultures, and it is still considered one of the healthier juices for at-home treatment. Boasting significant levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein, B vitamins, zinc, copper, choline and selenium, as well as rare antioxidants called betalains, this fruit juice can do your body a world of good!
Benefits of Beet Juice
Some of the most important benefits of beet juice include its ability to lower blood pressure, aid digestion, boost cognitive health, prevent cancer, protect the bones, detoxify the body, support vision, eliminate inflammation, increase energy, stimulate libido and manage diabetes, among others.
Blood Pressure: Perhaps the most famous and important use of this natural juice is for high blood pressure. When drinking this beverage, the impact it can have on hypertension is almost immediate. This is most likely due to the presence of nitrates, which can relieve tension in the veins and arteries, allowing the cardiovascular system to relax.
Diabetes: There is a significant amount of soluble fiber found in beet juice, which can not only help with your digestion, but will also keep your blood sugar levels under control. When a single 8-ounce glass of beet juice is consumed every day, research has shown that it can do wonders for protecting diabetic patients and lowering the risk of diabetes for other people.
Cancer Prevention: A great deal of research has been done on the antioxidant potential of beets, namely because beet juice possesses two very rare substances – betaine and vulgaxanthin. Due to the free radical-fighting nature of these substances, exciting research is being done on their potential impact on cancer. Some studies have already found that the active ingredients in beet juice can prevent tumor formation and leukemia, and even improve the health of people who were diagnosed with inoperable, terminal cancers.
Digestion: With anti-inflammatory properties and a high level of soluble and insoluble fiber, one of the best benefits of beet juice is the impact it has on digestion. It can quickly clear up constipation and promote peristaltic motion, which can ease symptoms of cramping, bloating and excess gas.
Osteoporosis: Beet juice offers a wide range of minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium, all of which can play a role in strengthening the bones, preventing osteoporosis and boosting bone mineral density.
Liver Health: The detoxifying effects of beet juice have been known for centuries, and modern research has shown that it can indeed protect and support liver health, while inducing urination, helping to expel excess toxins and fats from the body.
Vitamin A: The presence of beta-carotene in beets is quite significant, meaning that this vegetable juice can have a serious effect on vision. Vitamin A functions as an antioxidant that can seek out and neutralize free radicals in the retina, preventing macular degeneration and slowing down the onset of cataracts.
Inflammation: Betaine, the unique antioxidant found in beet juice, has a measurable effect on inflammation of the tissues, as well as on enzyme production and hormone balance. This means that betaine is able to soothe conditions ranging from arthritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome to headaches and gout!
Energy Boost: Although 2 grams of protein doesn’t sound too impressive, it is unusual for a vegetable, and in combination with the other minerals and vitamins, a glass of this juice can give the body a definite burst of energy.
Sex Drive: For thousands of years, beets have been considered natural aphrodisiacs, which can be attributed to the presence of boron, nitric acid, iron, vitamin C and other minerals that play a role in sex hormone production and circulation.
Side Effects of Beet Juice
Despite all of the impressive health benefits above, the side effects of drinking beet juice can include gastrointestinal distress, elevated cholesterol and excess mineral storage. Furthermore, pregnant women are advised to use caution, along with those suffering from kidney disease.
Cholesterol – The unique antioxidants found in beet juice, primarily betaine, has been linked to elevated cholesterol levels, so if you are obese or currently suffering from atherosclerosis or hypercholesteremia, speak with your doctor before adding beet juice to your health regimen.
Mineral Excess – Beet juice is high in certain minerals, which is definitely a good thing, provided your body can process them properly. Some people suffer from excess iron and copper levels when consuming an excessive amount of beet juice, which can result in various unwanted side effects.
Stomach Issues – The powerful active ingredients and chemicals in beet juice can cause irritation in the stomach, resulting in vomiting, nausea, stomach upset and general inflammation of the gut.
Kidney Disease – Drinking high levels of pure beet juice can significantly raise your levels of oxalic acid in the body, which contributes to the development of kidney stones. If you are already struggling with kidney health, speak with your doctor before using this juice, and only drink diluted forms of this juice in moderation.
Pregnancy – There is some debate about the use of beet juice during pregnancy. As some of the nutrients and minerals can be beneficial for a pregnant woman, the best recommendation is to speak with your doctor about your particular condition before using this juice.
How to Make Beet Juice
If you don’t want to buy beet juice from the store, making it at home is a relatively simple process, requiring only a blender, a paring knife and some beets. Before you make the juice, however, you need to pick the best beets, so look for those that are smooth and firm, particularly if they have a bit of shine on their outer skin. These will be ideal for beet juice.
- 3-4 large, smooth beets
- 2-3 cups of water
Step 1 – Thoroughly wash and then peel the beets.
Step 2 – Cut the beet as finely as possible, which will make it easier for the blender to extract the juice.
Step 3 – Add 1/2 cup of water and the beets to your blender. Blend for at least 60 seconds.
Step 4 – Depending on the consistency, you may want to add more water, as the blended beets can be slightly thick.
Step 5 – If more water is added, blend for another 60 seconds.
Step 6 – Strain the blended juice through cheesecloth to remove any remaining fibers or stray chunks.
Step 7 – Serve and enjoy!