Beets belongs to the family of spinach and chad, known as the Chenopodiaceae family. They are originally cultivated in Europe and Asia, but are now grown worldwide. Both the root and leaves can be eaten. Beets are by far one of my best produce to juice. Whenever fresh beets are available in the vegetable market where I shop my produce, boy it’s Christmas for me. The sharp and sugary taste it adds to my juice is simply awesome. Personally I prefer beets than other vegetables. May be because of the sweetness and the vampire effects I get while drinking it. One thing I love about beets is its enormous health benefits, apart from being nature’s own Viagra – yes I said it, try and see for yourself. During the middle age, beetroot was used for treatment of various diseases. Back then, am sure you are aware that these chemicals we call pills weren’t available and those guys relied solely on this vegetables to cure diseases. Hippocrates the father of medicine used beet root to bind wound and in treatment of illness related to digestion and blood. I also read on an article that during the Napoleonic wars, when France was restricted in trading sugar by Britain. Napoleon took a wise decision by declaring beets the primary source of sugar.
One things that really makes beets unique is the presence of a colour pigment called Betacyanin, which is a powerful antioxidant known for its anti-cancer properties. Betacyanins are magenta pigments, while betaxanthins are yellow pigments. The distribution of extracted pigments varies due to factors such as beetroot cultivar and extraction method. Betacyanin combination with fibre is the factor responsible for beets protective role against colon cancer.
Beet green are higher in nutritional value than the root. Beets root are great source of folic acid, fiber, manganese and potassium. The root are rich iron calcium, vitamins A and C. The green provide the body with magnesium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B6.
One cup of beets provides approximately (in daily value):
- 60 calories
- 4 grams of fiber
- 5 grams of protein
- 34% folate
- 28% manganese
- 15% potassium
- 14% copper
- 10% magnesium
- Plus iron, vitamin C, and B vitamins
Health Benefits of Beetroots:
To reap the benefits of beets its best to consume it in its raw state and the best way to do that is to juice it. The major substance betalains are lost when cooked. Drinking beet juice might cause your stool and urine to turn red, don’t freak out, you are save. Although I nearly freaked out when it happened to me the first time, but latter I read that the red stool is caused by the red pigment found in beet juice.
- Lower your Blood Pressure: Drinking beet juice can significantly help lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk of developing cardiovascular diseases which can lead to heart attacks or strokes. A research was conducted with some patients who drank 250ml of beetroot juice daily where found to have their blood pressure levels back to the normal range by the end of the study. This is due the natural occurring of nitrates in beets – which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide serves the function of relaxing and dilating the blood vessels while improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
- Boost Your Stamina: Many athlete swore that beetroots helped their performance. Some studies have shown that beet juice helps improve your tolerance against high-intensity exercise and improve blood and oxygen flow in their muscles. From personal experience I drink it prior to my workout and it helps me exercise a bit longer than usually, most of my gym friends still believes that the red juice I bring to the gym is a performance enhancement supplement. This is due to the high concentration of nitrates oxide, which helps enhances blood vessels dilation while increasing blood flow capacity and lowering the amount of oxygen your muscles need, so you are able to use oxygen more efficiently.
- Fight Inflammation: The usual processed food we eat are very high in inflammatory properties so consuming whole foods like beets is an excellent way to stop the immune system from triggering ongoing harmful levels of high inflammation. Beets contains anti-inflammatory compounds that have being shown to inhibit the activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes, which the body uses to trigger inflammation, protect internal organs and improve vascular risk factor. Reduced inflammation helps the body fight off diseases like heart disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease and protects against aging. Beets ability to combat inflammation is due to the presence of betaine compound. Betaine is activated within the body from the nutrient choline, which is derived from B Vitamins.
- Anti-Cancer Properties: The light or dark red, purple colours of beets indicates that they are high in antioxidant content. Most of the juice recipe for cancer calls for beets, this is because beets is an excellent source of phytonutrients called betalains which is a cancer beneficial antioxidant. A particular research shows that beetroots extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered into their drinking water. Betalains also helps to protect the body from developing cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer and colon cancer. It might also interest you to know that greens of beets contains the highest supply of free radical fighting antioxidant and contains more leutein and zeaxanthin than the purple beet roots.
- Detoxification Support: Beet juice can serve as a great detoxifier. The choline present in this juice helps detoxify the entire system from excessive alcohol abuse, provided consumption of alcohol is ceased. Also the betalin pigement found in beets supports phase 2 detoxification process, the process were broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body.
- Helps Maintain a Healthy Sex Drive: This is a little secret from me to you, ditch the Viagra or other sex enhancement pills for beet juice. Beets is a natural aphrodisiac which helps boost and maintain healthy sex drive. It does this by increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, which is made possible by the two substances that work in the body to regulate the production of human sex hormones (nitrates and boron)
- Anti-Aging Properties: Are you old and still wondering what you can do to return that youthful glow to your skin again? Beet juice is packed with high concentration of antioxidants, carotenoids, folate, fiber, iron, manganese, potassium and vitamin C which all have protective effect on the body. Over time our digestive tract gets contaminated due to the build-up of toxins due to unhealthy lifestyle and consuming beets is one of the best ways to cleanse the digestive tract and blood. This regular detoxification naturally lead to slow aging. Most diseases thrive in an acidic environment and consuming beets is a great way to balance pH levels and alkaline the body
- Reduces Birth Defects: Beets are good for pregnant women since they are a great source of B vitamin and folate which helps in the development of infant’s spinal column. Deficiency of folate could lead to a variety of conditions called neural tube defects
- Skin Problems: If acne is one of your major concerns, beet juice is just for you. Beets juice helps prevent and cure several skin inflammation and eliminate blemishes while promoting healthy skin and hair growth.
- Anemia: Beets is well known for its high iron content, which helps regenerates blood cells that supplies oxygen to the body. While the copper content makes iron more available to the body, so therefore making beet juice beneficial in anemia reversal.
- Liver Health: Long before now, beet have being used for medical purposes, primarily focusing on the disorder of the liver. The betaine present in beets stimulates the function of the liver cells and protects the liver and bile ducts. Also leading to the increase of catalase and glutathione which are the detoxifying enzymes in the liver.
- Eye Health: Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two carotenoids present in beet greens. These carotenoids are extremely beneficial for the eyes, more especially the retina.
- Varicose veins: Beet juice helps keep the elasticity of arteries and regular consumption of beets juice also helps prevent varicose veins.
Other ways to use Beet Juice
- Dandruff: Mix your beet juice with apple cider vinegar. Then massage thoroughly on scalp, leave it to seat about one hour, then rinse. Repeat this process regularly till dandruff clears.
- Gastric ulcer: Mix honey with your beets juice and drink two or three times a week. Make sure this is done on an empty stomach.
Whenever I visit the farmers market I make sure I go for the ones their greens are still intact. The fresh looking once with no visible sign of spoilage. Those once with flabby greens should be stored in the refrigerator or simply cut out the greens. Beets can be kept for only three to four weeks in the fridge with the green attached but without the green attached it can stay as long as few weeks. From experience I think beetroots with round bottoms are more delicious than those with flat bottom. I personally prefer the small once for my juicing.