Beetroots are fast becoming popular for their wonderful nutrient profile. In addition to eating beets, you may also relish their juice. The super-healthy beverage can easily be absorbed by your body.
Below are some health benefits of beetroot:
May Promote Heart Health
Beetroot juice is a powerful source of nitrates. Nitrates dilate the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. This is beneficial to the heart.
The juice also reduces overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, which may elevate blood pressure levels and lead to heart disease.
In another study, participants consuming beetroot juice saw a considerable decrease in their blood pressure levels in just 30 minutes.
This effect subsided in 24 hours, though Beetroot juice supplements may improve health in patients who had heart failure.
The juice might also lower total cholesterol levels. In a rat study, beetroot extract lowered triglycerides and total cholesterol levels. It also increased the levels of HDL (the good cholesterol). This effect could be attributed to the flavonoids in beets.
May Help Fight Cancer
The most important antioxidant in beetroot juice is betacyanin, which fights free radicals. This is one way the juice can contribute to cancer prevention.
The anti-inflammatory properties of beetroot juice can also help treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (cancer of the blood and bone marrow). The betacyanin in the juice also plays a major role here.
Beetroot juice was also found to have anticancer effects comparable with doxorubicin, an anticancer drug.
The juice reduces cancer cell proliferation and inflammation and stimulates cell death in cancers of the skin, liver, lungs, and the esophagus.
May Aid Diabetes Treatment
In a study, the intake of half a cup of beetroot juice showed a significant decrease in the post-meal blood glucose levels. The betalains in the juice (powerful antioxidant compounds) are responsible for this effect.
Similar effects were observed in obese individuals. Obese individuals who consumed the juice along with carbs showed lower insulin resistance compared to their non-obese counterparts who did not drink the juice.
The nitrates in the juice help lower blood pressure. This effect was more accentuated in people with type 2 diabetes.
May Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction
There is no strong evidence that beetroot juice can treat erectile dysfunction. But a majority of the affected men seem to swear by it.
Some sources suggest that nitric oxide may have a role to play in treating erectile dysfunction. The compound relaxes the blood vessels and improves blood flow. This property, apart from lowering blood pressure, also enhances penile blood flow.
Since erectile dysfunction occurs due to lack of proper blood flow to the penile muscles, nitric oxide in beet juice might help facilitate it.
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Another important compound involved with erection is cGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate). This compound relaxes the arteries and increases blood flow to the penis.
A study shows that foods rich in nitrates (which convert to nitric oxide in the body) can increase the levels of cGMP.
May Boost Athletic Performance
Beetroot juice intake has been linked to improvements in several parameters associated with the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
The juice showed desirable effects in elite runners as well. Fifteen days of beetroot juice supplementation improved the time to exhaustion in these runners. But it didn’t seem to improve other physical parameters, like maximum physical uptake.
Another study reports no improvement in physical performance after the intake of beetroot juice. However, it was conducted with only one shot of beetroot juice.
May Reduce Risk Of Dementia
There is less research to support this fact. Some sources suggest that dietary nitrate can improve blood flow to the brain, thereby cutting the risk of dementia or other forms of cognitive decline.
May Promote Liver Health
Betaine in beetroot juice might help treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, this was proven only in animal studies.
In another rat study, dietary betaine was found to improve liver function. The compound protected the livers of rats from toxins.
Drinking the juice along with the fiber offers you the benefits discussed in the earlier section. But before you go ahead, you need to be aware of a few issues.
What Are The Side Effects Of Beetroot Juice?
• Can Cause Beeturia
Beeturia is the discoloration of urine following the consumption of beetroots/beetroot juice or foods made with them. The pigments in beets, which belong to the family of betacyanins, are responsible for this.
Beeturia is a harmless condition. Reducing beetroot juice intake can rectify it. But be careful as this condition is often observed in people who are deficient in iron.
• Can Increase Risk Of Kidney Stones
Beets/beetroot juice contain(s) oxalates, which are largely responsible for kidney stones.
Consuming too much of foods high in oxalates can increase the risk of kidney stones.
If you have a history of kidney stones or are at risk, please avoid beetroot juice.
• May Lower Blood Pressure Way Too Much
Beetroot juice can lower blood pressure levels.
If you are already on medications to lower blood pressure, please check with your doctor.
They might adjust the dosage of your medication accordingly.
Beetroot juice is the new superfood. It is easy to make and is quite refreshing. Having it every day – right in the morning or late in the evening – can work wonders for your health in the long run.
Be wary of overconsumption, though. Also, avoid intake if you have kidney issues.
Do you already have beetroot juice regularly? How do you like the taste? Do share your thoughts by leaving a comment in the box below.