The beet is a bulbous, sweet root vegetable that most people either love or hate. It’s not new on the block, but it’s risen to superfood status over the last decade or so.
Research shows drinking beet juice, also known as beetroot juice, may benefit your health. Here’s how.
1. Helps lower blood pressure
Beet juice may help lower your blood pressure. Researchers found that people who drank 250 milliliters (or about 8.4 ounces) of beet juice daily lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Nitrates, compounds in beet juice that convert into nitric oxide in the blood and help widen and relax blood vessels, are thought to be the cause.
2. Improves exercise stamina
According to a small 2012 studyTrusted Source, drinking beet juice increases plasma nitrate levels and boosts physical performance.
During the study, trained cyclists who drank 2 cups of beet juice daily improved their 10-kilometer time trial by approximately 12 seconds. At the same time, they also reduced their maximum oxygen output.
3. May improve muscle power in people with heart failure
Results of a 2015 study suggest further benefits of the nitrates in beet juice. The study showed that people with heart failure experienced a 13 percent increase in muscle power 2 hours after drinking beet juice.
4. May slow the progression of dementia
According to a 2011 studyTrusted Source, nitrates may help increase blood flow to the brain in older people and help slow cognitive decline.
After participants consumed a high-nitrate diet that included beet juice, their brain MRIs showed increased blood flow in the frontal lobes. The frontal lobes are associated with cognitive thinking and behavior.
More studies are needed, but the potential of a high-nitrate diet to help prevent or slow dementia is promising.
5. Helps you maintain a healthy weight
Straight beet juice is low in calories and has virtually no fat. It’s a great option for your morning smoothie. It’ll give you a nutrient and energy boost as you start your day.
6. May prevent cancer
Beets get their rich color from betalains, which are water-soluble antioxidants. According to a 2016 studyTrusted Source, betalains have chemo-preventive abilities against some cancer cell lines.
Betalains are thought to be free radical scavengers that help find and destroy unstable cells in the body.
7. Good source of potassium
Beets are a good source of potassium, a mineral, and electrolyte that helps nerves and muscles function properly. Drinking beet juice in moderation can help keep your potassium levels optimal.
If potassium levels get too low, fatigue, weakness, and muscle cramps can occur. Very low potassium may lead to life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms.
8. Good source of other minerals
Your body can’t function properly without essential minerals. Some minerals boost your immune system, while others support healthy bones and teeth.
Besides potassium, beet juice provides:
9. Good source of folate
Folate is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects, such as spinal bifida and anencephaly. It may also decrease your risk for having a premature baby.
Beet juice is a good source of folate. If you’re of childbearing age, adding folate to your diet can help you get the daily recommended amount of 600 microgramsTrusted Source.
10. Supports your liver
You may develop a condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease if your liver becomes overloaded due to the following factors:
- a poor diet
- excessive alcohol consumption
- exposure to toxic substances
- sedentary lifestyle
The antioxidant betaine potentially helps prevent or reduce fatty deposits in the liver. Betaine may also help protect your liver from toxins.
11. May reduce cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, consider adding beet juice to your diet.
A 2011 study on rats found that beetroot extract lowered total cholesterol and triglycerides and increased HDL, or “good,” cholesterol. It also reduced oxidative stress on the liver.
Researchers believe beetroot’s cholesterol-lowering potential is likely due to its phytonutrients, such as flavonoids.
Your urine and stools may turn red or pinkish after eating beets. This condition, known as beeturia, is harmless. However, it may be startling if you don’t expect it.
If you have low blood pressure, drinking beet juice regularly may increase the risk of your pressure dropping too low. Monitor your blood pressure carefully.
If you’re prone to calcium oxalate kidney stones, don’t drink beet juice. Beets are high in oxalates, which are naturally occurring substances that form crystals in your urine. They may lead to stones.
Beets are healthy no matter how you prepare them. However, juicing beets is a superior way to enjoy them because cooking beets reduces their nutritional value.
If you don’t like beet juice straight up, try adding some apple slices, mint, citrus, or a carrot to cut through the earthy taste.
If you decide to add beet juice to your diet, take it easy at first. Start by juicing half a small beet and see how your body responds. As your body adjusts, you can drink more.
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