Benefits (and Risks) of Juicing Beets

Benefits (and Risks) of Juicing Beets

Beets are a familiar colorful earthy root vegetable, common in foods from to stews and salads. Beet juice is on the rise in popularity – and not just because of this vibrant color. Beet juice may have a range of benefits for the body.

The benefits of juicing beets come from the wealth of vitamins, minerals, and potent antioxidants in the vegetable and its juice.

 

Benefits of Juicing beets

Strong nutritional profile

Beets and beet juice have a strong nutritional profile. As posted to the USDA FoodData Central site, a 1 cup serving of raw beets contains the following:

  • Calories: 58.5
  • Protein: 2.2 g
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Carbohydrate: 13 g
  • Sugars 9.2 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3.8 g

Like other root vegetables, beets also contain various levels of important minerals and nutrients, such as:

  • Potassium: 442 mg
  • Calcium: 21.8 mg
  • Sodium: 106 mg
  • Magnesium: 31.3 mg
  • Vitamin C: 6.7 mg
  • Iron: 1.09 mg
  • Folate: 148 ug

Beetroot is one of the few vegetables rich in iron and can be a helpful supply of daily iron intake.

 

Impressive antioxidant profile

What sets beets apart from many other root vegetables is its impressive antioxidant profile.

The vibrant color of beet juice appears thanks to compounds called betalains. In red beets, it is betacyanin, which is a potent antioxidant that also gives beets their purplish pigment. 

Research posted to the journal Nutrients notes that betalains have a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, which may lead to a number of the benefits of juicing beets and capturing these antioxidants.

 The research also notes that beet contains a few different classes of antioxidants, such as:

  • Carotenoids
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Phenolic acids
  • Flavonoids 

 

Fights inflammation and oxidative stress

Thanks to the number of antioxidants in beets, drinking beet juice may help fight inflammation and markers of oxidative stress. 

The Nutrients study notes that in higher doses the compound betanin in beets had a similar anti-inflammatory effect as some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil).

This may help with short-term inflammation in high doses. Adding the compounds to the diet may also be helpful for conditions that cause long-term inflammation as well.

Ingesting beet juice may be a simple way to get these helpful antioxidants into the blood and reduce inflammation in the body.

 

Cognitive function

Beetroot juice may also improve brain function by allowing more oxygen to the brain. The Nutrients review notes that while a single serving of beetroot juice does not appear to cause a noticeable change, adding regular beetroot juice to the diet may improve markers of brain function in people who are at risk, such as older populations.

Additionally, regular consumption of beetroot juice may help the body and mind recover quicker from exhausting exercise while keeping the brain sharp.

The evidence here is still early, and more research will need to give backing to these claims.

 

Supports liver and metabolic health

A study posted to Frontiers in Immunology also notes that the activity of betaine, the main antioxidant in beets, helps reduce oxidative stress in many areas of the body such as the liver. The liver processes the betaine, and the antioxidant effect of the compound may help clean and support the liver and limit fat buildup.

This may protect against markers of metabolic disease by:

  • Reducing fatty liver damage
  • Reducing oxidative damage
  • Improving insulin sensitivity
  • Reducing damage from alcohol intake

 

Cardiovascular health

Beet juice may also be of particular benefit to the heart and cardiovascular system. Beets are a good source of dietary nitrates. These natural nitrates may help with certain markers of cardiovascular health.

A study posted to Nutrients found that giving these natural nitrates to people gave them increased blood and oxygen flow in the muscles, boosting athletic performance.

The compounds in beetroot may also help with markers of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

 

Risks

There are two main risks to consider when juicing beets:

Sugars

Beets are rich in natural nectar and sugars. In the root itself, there is plenty of fiber, which helps slow the absorption of this sugar. In pure beet juice, there is much less fiber, so the sugar may be absorbed much easier. People who track their sugar and carb intake should be aware of this.

Interactions

Though not as common, beet juice may interact with some drugs, especially in high doses. People who take high doses of iron or medicines for cholesterol should talk to their doctor before regularly drinking beet juice.

 

Summary

Drinking beet juice every day may support a number of systems in the body, either alone or in a personal juice blend. Keep in mind that the potent antioxidants in the juice are best enjoyed fresh, so drink up!

 

References

Beets, raw. (2020). https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/787777/nutrients

Clifford, T., et al. (2015). The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease. Nutrients7(4), 2801-2822. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425174/

Domínguez, R., et al. (2017). Effects of beetroot juice supplementation on cardiorespiratory endurance in athletes. A systematic review. Nutrients9(1), 43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295087/

Guldiken, B., et al.  (2016). Home-processed red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) products: Changes in antioxidant properties and bioaccessibility. International journal of molecular sciences17(6), 858. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926392/

Zhao, G., et al.  (2018). Betaine in inflammation: Mechanistic aspects and applications. Frontiers in Immunology9, 1070. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2018.01070/full