Your blood pressure may also benefit from the nitrates in beet juice, with benefits occurring within in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4 to 5 points.7
A separate study found consuming beet juice daily for four weeks lead to reductions in blood pressure, improvements in endothelial function, and reduced arterial stiffness. The researchers concluded:8
“This is the first evidence of durable BP [blood pressure] reduction with dietary nitrate supplementation in a relevant patient group. These findings suggest a role for dietary nitrate as an affordable, readily-available, and adjunctive treatment in the management of patients with hypertension.”
Aside from the blood pressure benefits, drinking beet juice may also be good for your brain. The nitrates, and resulting NO, help increase blood flow to the brain in elderly people. As you age, blood flow to certain areas of your brain decreases, which is associated with dementia and poor cognitive function.
When adults aged 70 and over ate a high-nitrate breakfast including beet juice, they had increased blood flow to their brain’s white matter, which is an area associated with dementia.9
Beets Are Antioxidant-Rich, Inflammation-Fighting Superstars
If you enjoy beets, there’s good reason to add them to your meals regularly. You can grate them raw over salads, marinate them with lemon juice, herbs, and olive oil as a side dish, or steam them, whichever you prefer.
Nutritionally, beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B-vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
The betalain pigments in beets support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.
Research has even shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, while beetroot extract is being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.10
Beets are also a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.11 As reported by the World’s Healthiest Foods:12
“[Betaine’s]… presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”
Beets Are a High-Sugar Veggie
Although the benefits of beet juice appear well established, keep in mind that beets are a very high-sugar vegetable. In fact, beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, although they also contain a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
For this reason, I recommend adding beets (in whole, non-juiced form) to your diet a few times a week to benefit from their nutrition without overdosing on their high amounts of sugar. The sugar will be even more concentrated in beet juice, without any of the fiber to somewhat moderate its effects, so you have to be cautious when consuming beets in juiced form.
If you struggle with high blood pressure or heart failure, you may want to experiment with beet juice and see how it impacts you. If you notice improvements in your blood pressure or stamina after drinking the juice, it may be a good fit for you. If you have diabetes or are insulin resistant, carefully monitor how beet juice affects your overall health and factor that in to how often you choose to consume it. Typically, moderation is best.
Keep in mind that this article is referring to the red beets most people add to salads and side dishes; they are not the same variety as sugar beets, which are actually white, commonly genetically modified, and used in the production of sugar. Also, if you’re solely interested in the benefits of nitrates in beet juice, you might also try consuming other nitrate-rich (but lower-sugar) vegetables (or juicing them), such as celery, lettuce, parsley, and spinach.
Beet greens are also a good source and contain additional important nutrients like protein, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. Beet greens also supply significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. For reference, here are some examples of vegetables you can juice, along with the level of nitrates they contain.13
|Vegetable (100 grams)
||Nitrates (milligrams, mg)
|Butter leaf lettuce
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