Most people either love beets or hate them. But lately, these bulbous root vegetables have become popular. While eating beets is the best way to go, drinking their juice offers some amazing benefits as well.
There are other important ways beetroot juice can benefit your health. In this post, we will discuss them at length.
Table Of Contents
What Are The Health Benefits Of Beetroot Juice?
The nitrates in the juice help lower blood pressure and protect the heart. While the anti-inflammatory properties of the juice help fight cancer, the betalains it contains can help lower blood sugar.
1. May Promote Heart Health
Beetroot juice is a powerful source of nitrates. Nitrates dilate the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. This is beneficial to the heart (3).
The juice also reduces overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, which may elevate blood pressure levels and lead to heart disease (3).
In another study, participants consuming beetroot juice saw a considerable decrease in their blood pressure levels in just 30 minutes (4). This effect subsided in 24 hours, though.
Beetroot juice supplements may improve health in patients who had heart failure (5).
The juice might also lower total cholesterol levels. In a rat study, beetroot extract lowered triglycerides and total cholesterol levels. It also increased the levels of HDL (the good cholesterol). This effect could be attributed to the flavonoids in beets (6).
2. May Help Fight Cancer
The most important antioxidant in beetroot juice is betacyanin, which fights free radicals. This is one way the juice can contribute to cancer prevention (7).
The anti-inflammatory properties of beetroot juice can also help treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (cancer of the blood and bone marrow) (8). The betacyanin in the juice also plays a major role here.
Beetroot juice was also found to have anticancer effects comparable with doxorubicin, an anticancer drug (9).
The juice reduces cancer cell proliferation and inflammation and stimulates cell death in cancers of the skin, liver, lungs, and the esophagus (10).
3. May Aid Diabetes Treatment
In a study, the intake of half a cup of beetroot juice showed a significant decrease in the post-meal blood glucose levels (11). The betalains in the juice (powerful antioxidant compounds) are responsible for this effect.
Similar effects were observed in obese individuals. Obese individuals who consumed the juice along with carbs showed lower insulin resistance compared to their non-obese counterparts who did not drink the juice (12).
The nitrates in the juice help lower blood pressure. This effect was more accentuated in people with type 2 diabetes (13).
4. May Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction
There is no strong evidence that beetroot juice can treat erectile dysfunction. But a majority of the affected men seem to swear by it.
Some sources suggest that nitric oxide may have a role to play in treating erectile dysfunction (14). The compound relaxes the blood vessels and improves blood flow. This property, apart from lowering blood pressure, also enhances penile blood flow.
Since erectile dysfunction occurs due to lack of proper blood flow to the penile muscles, nitric oxide in beet juice might help facilitate it.
Another important compound involved with erection is cGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate). This compound relaxes the arteries and increases blood flow to the penis. A study shows that foods rich in nitrates (which convert to nitric oxide in the body) can increase the levels of cGMP (15).
5. May Boost Athletic Performance
Beetroot juice intake has been linked to improvements in several parameters associated with the cardiovascular and respiratory systems (16).
The juice showed desirable effects in elite runners as well. Fifteen days of beetroot juice supplementation improved the time to exhaustion in these runners (17). But it didn’t seem to improve other physical parameters, like maximum physical uptake.
Another study reports no improvement in physical performance after the intake of beetroot juice (18). However, it was conducted with only one shot of beetroot juice.
6. May Reduce Risk Of Dementia
There is less research to support this fact. Some sources suggest that dietary nitrate can improve blood flow to the brain, thereby cutting the risk of dementia or other forms of cognitive decline (19).
7. May Promote Liver Health
Betaine in beetroot juice might help treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, this was proven only in animal studies (20).
In another rat study, dietary betaine was found to improve liver function. The compound protected the livers of rats from toxins (21).
8. Can Be Used As A Hair Dye
Though this is not a benefit per se, the juice is often used as a hair dye. If you want a deeper red tint to your hair, here’s how you can use the juice:
- Mix beetroot juice with a carrier oil (like coconut oil).
- Apply this mixture liberally to your hair. Cover your hair with a plastic wrap.
- Leave it on for about an hour.
- Remove the plastic wrap and wash your hair.
Beetroot juice is fast becoming a superfood, and all for good reason.
Some anecdotal evidence also suggests the juice can help aid weight loss and ease constipation. However, there is no research to support this statement. Hence, consult your doctor before using the juice for this purpose.
Beetroot juice is replete with potent compounds. In the following section, we will look at the detailed nutritional profile.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Beetroot Juice?
The following table shows the nutritional profile of beetroot. The juice, in the same quantity, would have the same nutrients.
|Nutrient||Unit||1 cup = 136.0g||1 beet (2″ dia) = 82.0g|
|Total lipid (fat)||g||0.23||0.14|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||g||13||7.84|
|Fiber, total dietary||g||3.8||2.3|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||mg||6.7||4|
|Vitamin A, RAE||μg||4||2|
|Vitamin A, IU||IU||45||27|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||mg||0.05||0.03|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||μg||0.3||0.2|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||g||0.037||0.022|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||g||0.044||0.026|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||g||0.082||0.049|
*values sourced from USDA, beets, raw
Beetroot juice is a brightly colored beverage that brims with antioxidants. Hence, having it every day is a wonderful idea. But how do you make it?
How Do You Make Beetroot Juice At Home?
What You Need
- 2-4 medium-sized beetroots with their tops on
- A container
- A juicer
- Wash the beets thoroughly. You can use a brush specifically purchased for this purpose.
- Peel the skin.
- Cut the beets and the tops into manageable pieces.
- Place the beets in the juicer and place the container under the spout of the juicer.
- You can serve the juice chilled. You can sweeten the juice by adding the juice of half an apple.
Beetroot juice naturally tastes earthy. You can improve its taste by adding a dash of lemon.
Drinking the juice every day can offer you the benefits discussed in the earlier section. But before you go ahead, you need to be aware of a few issues.
What Are The Side Effects Of Beetroot Juice?
• Can Cause Beeturia
Beeturia is the discoloration of urine following the consumption of beetroots/beetroot juice or foods made with them. The pigments in beets, which belong to the family of betacyanins, are responsible for this (22).
Beeturia is a harmless condition. Reducing beetroot juice intake can rectify it. But be careful as this condition is often observed in people who are deficient in iron.
• Can Increase Risk Of Kidney Stones
Beets/beetroot juice contain(s) oxalates, which are largely responsible for kidney stones (23). Consuming too much of foods high in oxalates can increase the risk of kidney stones.
If you have a history of kidney stones or are at risk, please avoid beetroot juice.
• May Lower Blood Pressure Way Too Much
Beetroot juice can lower blood pressure levels. If you are already on medications to lower blood pressure, please check with your doctor. They might adjust the dosage of your medication accordingly.
Beetroot juice is the new superfood. It is easy to make and is quite refreshing. Having it every day – right in the morning or late in the evening – can work wonders for your health in the long run.
Be wary of overconsumption, though. Also, avoid intake if you have kidney issues.
Do you already have beetroot juice regularly? How do you like the taste? Do share your thoughts by leaving a comment in the box below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How much beetroot juice is too much?
There are no official dosage recommendations. But 250 ml of the juice daily should be ideal as it also helps regulate blood pressure (24). Anything beyond that, over longer periods, may cause issues.
What is the best time to drink beetroot juice?
Drinking it the first thing in the morning can work best as it can help in better absorption. You can also drink the juice at any other time of the day.
- “Dietary Nitrate from Beetroot Juice for Hypertension: A Systematic Review.” Biomolecules, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “High blood pressure fact sheet” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- “Beetroot juice may provide benefits to heart disease patients” American Physiological Society, ScienceDaily.
- “A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study of the Effect of Beetroot Juice Containing Dietary Nitrate on Aortic and Brachial Blood Pressure Over 24 h” Frontiers in Physiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Beetroot juice supplements may help certain heart failure patients” Indiana University, ScienceDaily.
- “Effect Of Beta Vulgaris L. On Cholesterol Rich Diet-Induced Hypercholesterolemia In Rats” Farmacia.
- “Beetroot juice” National Cancer Institute.
- “Beetroot-Carrot Juice Intake either Alone or in Combination with Antileukemic Drug ‘Chlorambucil’ As A Potential Treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia” Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Cytotoxic effect of the red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extract compared to doxorubicin (Adriamycin) in the human prostate (PC-3) and breast (MCF-7) cancer cell lines.” Anti-cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Beet Root Juice Promotes Apoptosis in OncogenicMDA-MB-231 Cells While Protecting CardiomyocytesUnder Doxorubicin Treatment” CiteSeerX.
- “Effects of a beetroot juice with high neobetanin content on the early-phase insulin response in healthy volunteers” Journal of Nutritional Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Concurrent Beet Juice and Carbohydrate Ingestion: Influence on Glucose Tolerance in Obese and Nonobese Adults” Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Dietary nitrate from beetroot juice selectively reduces central blood pressure in type 2 diabetes: the randomized, controlled VaSera trial” The Nutrition Society, Cambridge University Press.
- “The role of nitric oxide in penile erection” Journal of Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy.
- “Antiplatelet effects of dietary nitrate in healthy volunteers: Involvement of cGMP and influence of sex” Free Radical Biology & Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review” Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “The effects of beetroot juice supplementation on exercise economy, rating of perceived exertion and running mechanics in elite distance runners: A double-blinded, randomized study” PloS One, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Effects of a single dose of beetroot juice on cycling time trial performance at ventilatory thresholds intensity in male triathletes” United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library.
- “Acute effect of a high nitrate diet on brain perfusion in older adults” Nitric Oxide, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Betaine for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Results of a randomized placebo‐controlled trial” Hepatology, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
- “Betaine in human nutrition” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- “Beeturia” National Center for Biotechnology Information.
- “Nutritional management of kidney stones” Clinical Nutrition Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: a randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study” Hypertension, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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