Beets are the one root vegetable that most people either love or hate. There is no in-between when it comes to eating beets. But they aren’t just for eating. They are naturally sweet, and you can use all the parts of beet in multiple ways. Let’s explore the many uses of beets before diving into juicing!
Traditional Benefits of Beets
Beets have been used at least since the time of Ancient Rome, where the Romans used beetroot to treat fevers and digestive problems. Beet greens were used by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, for binding wounds. From the Middle Ages on, beetroot was a common treatment for all kinds of conditions, especially ones affecting digestion and the blood.
One reason for so many different medicinal uses of beets is that they contain a pigment called betalain. Betalain is a powerhouse among antioxidants. It also acts as a fungicide and an anti-inflammatory. Some research shows that betalain has cancer-fighting properties. Betalain isn’t just found in the roots or fruits, however. It is present in every part of a beet, including the flowers, leaves and greens, stems, and skin.
Nutritional Value of Beets
Beets are one of nature’s superfoods! The roots are high in manganese and folate (vitamin B9), which helps cells grow and function. Folate is particularly important for pregnant people as it helps reduce neural tube defects developing fetuses. Folate also controls damage to the blood vessels, which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Beet greens provide a high recommended daily allowance of vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, sulfur, and choline. As a whole, beets are naturally high in nitrates. You might hear nitrates and think, “Aren’t those the preservatives in bacon and other deli meats?” Well, yes. But those nitrates are from sodium nitrate, which damages your blood vessels. The nitrates in beets are naturally occurring and are turned into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide aids in increasing blood flow, decreasing blood pressure, and boosting stamina.
Overview of Beet Juice Benefits
Beet juice has historically been used for its healing properties. Traditional uses include giving beet juice to fight anemia, improve circulation in the lymphatic system, detoxify, and treat skin problems and certain types of cancer. Beet juice is great for your liver, skin, kidneys, and eyes. It can help reduce fatigue, and besides being a powerful antioxidant, it is an antifungal with impressive anti-inflammatory properties.
Important Beet Facts
- Beet juice might cause both your stool and urine to turn red. This is normal, so don’t panic!
- Beet juice is potent. You only need a little bit to get lots of benefits. Start with 1 ounce a week and slowly increase to 2 ounces a week.
- Drink the juice raw. Cooking removes the most beneficial substances like betalains.
- Juice the roots and the greens. The greens hold most of the nutrients.
Benefits of Beet Juice
Beet juice has all the same benefits that you get from a whole beet. However, juicing doesn’t just condense the nutrients. It also makes them easier for you to digest and absorb. Some of the benefits of beet juice include:
1. Reversing Chronic Diseases
Beet juice contains raw oxalic acid. It acts as a good solvent of harmful inorganic calcium deposits in your body that cause the hardening and thickening of veins and arteries. Inorganic calcium deposits are believed to cause diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, kidney stones, eye problems, varicose veins, and arteriosclerosis.
Drinking lots of beet juice may result in overpowering detox symptoms. When the bad calcium dissolves, heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and viruses are released from hiding places in your body. Therefore, it is important that you don’t overdo it. This is one time when a little beet juice goes a long way! Start with an ounce a week, and support your immune system with a raw food diet that will help clear the toxins from your body. At the same time, beet juice replaces the bad calcium deposits with good calcium that your body needs.
2. Relieving Skin Problems
Beet juice is a natural anti-inflammatory. Drinking it regularly can be beneficial in helping treat skin inflammation like acne, eczema, and psoriases. Beet juice also helps promote healthy skin and hair growth.
3. Preventing Cancer
Research shows that beets act as a cancer preventive. Beet juice contains betacyanin, which prevents the formation of cancerous tumors. A low dose of beet juice has been shown in research to be effective in preventing and possibly reversing colon, lung, skin, liver, spleen, prostate, testicular, breast, and blood cancers, including leukemia.
4. Preventing Birth Defects
Just 100 grams of beetroot provides 27% of the RDA for folic acid. This vital nutrient is known to prevent neural tube birth defects in babies. These are defects of the brain, spine, and spinal column, including spina bifida, anencephaly, and tethered cord, among others. Pregnant people and people trying to conceive should ensure they get enough folic acid, either through their food or by taking a supplement.
5. Benefiting Eye Health
Raw beet greens contain two organic pigments called carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin. Research indicates that these carotenoids are extremely beneficial for the eye, especially for the retina. Raw beet juice allows you to absorb the carotenoids easily while maintaining the nutritive value. Lutein and zeaxanthin are destroyed when beets are cooked.
6. Fighting Anemia
Beets have high levels of iron, which is an oxidant that allows oxygen into the blood. At the same time, the antioxidants in beets protect against damage that oxidants can cause. To best treat anemia, use beets in conjunction with vitamin B12. If you are vegan, some sea algae are high in B12. If you eat meat, you can get B12 from a variety of canned and fresh fish, beef, and organ meat.
7. Increasing Liver Health
Betalain, that natural pigment, stimulates liver cells and protects the liver and bile ducts. Beet fiber aids the production of detoxifying liver enzymes.
More Benefits of Beet Juice
Beet juice is reported to be excellent in healing gout, kidney damage, and gall bladder inflammation. It lowers homocysteine, an amino acid that can increase your risk of dementia, heart attack, or stroke. Beet juice also improves the production of stomach acid, reduces cholesterol, and normalizes blood pressure.
Best Way to Enjoy the Health Benefits of Beets
It is crucial to consume beets raw. Cooking reduced betalain and may turn the oxalic acid into calcium stones.
Beet juice condenses all the nutrients and makes them easier to absorb. Beet juice goes well with carrots, cucumber, and celery juices, or you can use it to add natural sweetness to any combination of juices.
Peel and grate your beets to eat in salads. Beets go great in spinach salads with goat cheese and pumpkin seeds, or with grated carrots, apples, and nuts.
Peel and grate beets, and add purified water, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, sea salt, natural sweeteners, and herbs to taste. Let stand for at least 8 hours or overnight at room temperature.
Beets and beet juice do amazing things for your health. Juice beetroot and beet greens both promote multi-organ, blood, and body health. But remember, condensing the nutrients means that you only need a little bit of juice to reap the benefits!