Humans used beets in food as early as in Neolithic period around 10,000 years ago. Throughout human history, beetroot was believed to help with various conditions as constipation, erectile dysfunction, and others.
A new wave of interest to beets, and particularly to beetroot juice, started to rise in the recent decade with more and more scientific evidence accumulated on positive effects of the drink on health, stamina, and performance.
Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Beet juice similarly to other vegetable juices is loaded with Vitamins and minerals and low in sugar (beet juice is lower in sugar than fruit juices, but higher than green vegetable juices). Particularly, beet juice is a good source of Folate, Vitamin C, Manganese, and Potassium.
Besides vitamins and minerals, beet juice is a rich source of antioxidants and nitrates.
Helps to Lower Blood Pressure
Several studies were conducted on regard beetroot juice benefits in lowering blood pressure. All studies found that beetroot juice affects blood pressure to some extent. Even American Heart Association can’t deny beneficial effects of beet juice on this condition.
All studies found that beet juice lowers systolic (upper) pressure 10mmHg on average, with insignificant change in diastolic (lower) pressure. Change in blood pressure was maximal 6 hours after juice consumption. Alcohol and coffee decreased the positive influence of beetroot juice on blood pressure.
It is believed that high nitrate concentration in the juice of this vegetable connected to the normalizing effect on blood pressure. Nitrate is converted first into nitrite in the mouth by friendly bacterias, then to nitric oxide (NO-) in the stomach. This last one (NO-) has a long-known vasodilating effect (relaxes walls of blood vessels).
Most likely, benefits from beetroot juice will be similar to other vegetable juices high in nitrates, such as spinach or celery juices.
If you want to know more about scientific evidence on the topic, I would recommend reading this article from Nutrition Journal as it available in full to the public, and it discusses all different studies conducted on this matter.
Improves Athletic Performance
Endurance improving effect of beet juice is also related to nitrates, or rather a nitric oxide influence on blood vessels. When your blood vessels relaxed, you have an improved blood flow to every cell in your body including muscle cells. That means more oxygen and glucose can get into the muscles and more carbon dioxide and other waste products can get out.
The consumption of oxygen during moderate exercise also drops after beet juice ingestion, meaning that you need less energy to sustain the same pace.
One study found that the best results were achieved after drinking around 140ml of beetroot juice, which helped to improve time to failure by 12-14%. The best time for exercise is 2-3h after drinking juice, as researchers observed a peak of blood nitrites around this time frame.
Improves Bowel Movement
Beet juice has some laxative effect on the stomach. It is very similar to other vegetable juices, especially freshly squeezed. Though, don’t be discouraged as the influence is very mild and would not cause diarrhea. Rather, everything will go smoother than usually.
For those who didn’t do research on the topic, poop which looks like a snake, smooth, long and without any cracks is the most normal form of stool.
Prevent and Combat Cancer
When FDA recommends eating colorful fruits and vegetables every day, that’s because they know: plants receive their colors from powerful antioxidants. One in beets called betalain, and it’s responsible for the purple-reddish color of this root vegetable. Betalains are a class of pigments and include many different chemical compounds that have high bio-availability (absorbs easily by the body). Betalains are further divided into betacyanins and betaxanthins.
There is a study, in which researchers tested cytotoxic effect (ability to kill) on cancer cells of betaine, pigment from betacyanins class. They found that betaine slowed down cancer cell growth. Another study found that betaine and isobetaine slowed the growth and caused the death of cancer cells, while not affecting the growth of normal cells.
Helps With Erectile Function
I left the most interesting for a dessert. As proper erectile function also depends on nitric oxide production, as it relaxes blood vessels in the penis too, letting blood to fill the penis and to harden. There are two pathways in the body how NO- can be synthesized: through the L-arginine pathway or through the reduction of nitrate.
The L-arginine pathway is very complicated and disruption on any of steps of NO- formation can cause problems with erection. It can happen at any age but the older your male partner will get the lower effectiveness of L-arginine pathway is, and the importance of the alternative pathway grows. But in order for this alternative to work a high level of nitrates circulating in the blood needed. A glass of nitrate-rich juices per day will keep Nitric Oxide levels high and blood flowing to all organs.
But don’t think that this drink should be only on the men’s list. Proper blood flow in the clitoris helps women to reach climax easier and enjoy more the process of the intercourse.
So make one glass of beet juice for your partner, one for yourself and enjoy your time together. But don't forget that nitrites will peak in blood only 2-3 hours after you drink juice.
Helps to Detoxify Your Body
Same as other vegetable juices beet juice is an excellent way to detox your body. It provides tons of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes while supplying a limited amount of calories. There are many popular juice cleanse diets.
Beet juice also aids in body cleansing by supporting normal liver functioning. All that helps you to burn your fat efficiently releasing all toxins stored in fat cells back into the blood flow.
For that reason, people on a juice fast can experience strong detox symptoms like a headache, tiredness and even nausea. All symptoms can be lessened, if you increase your water intake and add sorbents to your regiment, like activated charcoal or bentonite clay.
Beet juice benefits are not limited to only those seven, as nitric oxide also helps to prevent dementia and atherosclerosis, increases stamina and literally helps to open your eyes in the morning, especially, if you try to stop drinking coffee.
Thus, while both genders will generally profit from drinking beet juice daily, remembering that heart attack is a number one killer among the men and erectile dysfunction market is over USD 4,39 billion, this drink could be a valuable addition to any diet.
Important: If you want to get all benefits from beet juice, be sure to stop using mouthwash and taking antacids as both of them will interrupt nitric oxide production. Plus, avoid drinking nitrate-rich juice with protein-rich meals, as it will increase your chance of getting cancer.
You can read more about it here.
Have you ever tried beet juice before, how was your experience, share below…