Beetroot (from the Latin: Beta Vulgaris), is also known as red beet, garden beet or just beet. One of the earliest known and most probably most taboo benefits of beetroot is that it was used as an aphrodisiac during ancient Roman times. This has been proven by scientists who have found high levels of boron, which has a lot to do with the production of human sex hormones. Beets also have the ability to put you on a natural high as they contain betaine; this substance relaxes the mind and is used in other methods of depression treatment. Beets also contain tryptophan which is found in chocolate and we all know how chocolate makes you feel (especially females). Beets has one of the highest sugar levels of any vegetable, but instead of releasing the sugar all at once, as in the consumption of chocolate, your body releases those sugars slowly so you don’t have a sudden sugar rush and then crash afterwards.
There are many more fun facts that could be provided but this article is solely about the health benefits of the beets and now that I have your attention, let’s get into it shall we?
While beets do have many uses and is paramount in many traditions and tribes, they have been proven to be the most useful when it comes on to human health which is why they should be classified as “super foods”.
The juice of beets contains a myriad of nutritional compounds. Minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and traces of copper, iron and zinc. Amino acids which help build proteins in the human body and antioxidants which fight and destroy free radicals have also been found in Beet Juice. Free radicals (also known as oxidants) are toxic molecules that attack and damage healthy cells when they are in abundance. They have been found to promote aging, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Vitamins A, C, E, F, B1, B2, B3, B6, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantohenic acid and folic acid have also been found in beetroot juice.
Beet Juice Benefits
One of the biggest breakthroughs in the research of beetroot, possibly, is the revelation that it does not necessarily cure but it definitely reverses the long term effects of some chronic diseases.
In his research findings, David Wolfe stated that inorganic calcium deposits are the main cause of most, if not all, chronic diseases. Compounds found in beet juice are known to be good solvents of inorganic calcium deposits in the body. This explains why beetroot juice reverses many cases diseases such as, cancer, kidney stones, arteriosclerosis, eye diseases and arthritis.
Research shows that the betacyanin found in beet juice, aids in the prevention of the formation of cancerous tumors, as well as it detoxifies the body. All this, while raw oxalic acid dissolves the inorganic calcium, may prove to be very effective in the prevention and possible reversal of the effects of many types of cancer.
In the 1920’s, Dr. Farberse and Dr. Schoenenberger figured out that beetroot had some properties that seemed to slow down the rate at which cancer was taking over their patients. This new treatment continued into the 1930’s, where a Hungarian professor initiated the research that would create a global phenomenon: How beetroot helps prevent cancer.
In 2011, Howard University in Washington, USA, conducted a study in which they found that betacyanin significantly slowed the growth of tumours by 12.5% which exposed to prostate and breast cancer cells.
Beetroots are high in B-complex vitamin folate, otherwise known as folic acid. When this is consumed by a pregnant woman it can drastically lessen the risk of having a child with abnormalities. Studies show that women who intake folic acid supplements or beet juice before conception and during the first trimester reduced their risk of having children with brain, spine or spinal cord defects by 72 – 100%.
Studies are now underway to provide evidence that folic acid (also found in beetroot) will help prevent miscarriage.
Beetroot possess 20 times more nitrated than most other vegetables, and contrary to their bad reputation of being a food additive, recent studies have proven that nitrates aid in the lowering of blood pressure.
In 2010, a study conducted by Queen Mary’s University showed that drinking one 250ml glass of beet juice a day significantly lowered human blood pressure for several hours also the higher the blood pressure, the more dramatic the drop.
Scientists claim that if this juice was consumed on a wide scale, we could see a 10% reduction in cardiovascular disease that results in death.
Nitrates, found in beetroot, have been proven to open up blood vessels and as a result, blood flows more freely. Blood flow to the brain is directly related to ageing; the early onset of dementia has been proven to be linked to the poor blood flow among the elderly.
At Wake University, USA, scientists conducted a study to prove that beetroot juice has a positive impact on cerebral functions. Their studies revealed that blood flow to the frontal lobes was higher in the subjects that had 16 ounces of beetroot juice for breakfast for 2 days. The white matter of the frontal lobes is an area directly associated with dementia.
There are very little negative side effects of consuming beetroot juice. It is important to note that whether or not you do indeed experience negative side effects completely depends on you as the effects vary from person to person.
Drinking a lot of beet juice may cause your urine and/or stools to become deep pink or red. Though this is peculiar, it is perfectly harmless and completely normal if you are ingesting large quantities of beets.
The high oxalate content in beetroot juice may increase the severity of kidney stones, or if you have had kidney stones before, it may increase the likelihood of their return. Avoid consuming beets if you have not gotten the go ahead from your doctor. Always consult a doctor.
A common side effect of drinking too much beetroot juice is the feeling of tightness in your throat. It has been proven that drinking beet juice with apple juice or other fresh vegetables in a cocktail may prevent this unusual side effect.
Fever and Chills
Because beets contain compounds that detoxify and cleanse your body, you may experience symptoms such as low fever and/or chills while your body fights to get rid of all the bad things that have been forced out of hiding by the beets but these symptoms are temporary and common.
Precautions and Allowed Daily Consumption
It is important to remember that beetroot juice will initiate a cleansing reaction in your body which may cause you to feel a little dizzy and nauseous. Though this is normal, it may be a bit uncomfortable so it is recommended that you start with a low dose of beet juice until your body can tolerate the cleansing effect. Start with 6 – 8 ounces twice a day. Gradually increase this dosage to a wine glass 2 to 3 times daily. Also remember that beeturia is perfectly normal.
Beetroot juice has many other health benefits and definitely more health benefits than disadvantages so it never hurts to try. If you have any health issues please consult your physician before venturing on the beet journey alone.