Beets aren’t just for making your grandmother’s borscht recipe anymore. Beet juice is one of the hottest new health food trends, and it’s purported to have all kinds of health benefits: Preventing cancer! Giving you more energy! Making you look younger!
But which claims are true, and which are fake? Is beet juice good for you? It can be if you know how to use it! In this guide, we’ll establish what beet juice is and what nutrients it contains, explain which beet juice benefits are real and which aren’t, and discuss how you can buy or make some beet juice of your own.
What Is Beet Juice?
Beet juice, also referred to as beetroot juice, is basically what it sounds like: it’s juice from beets. Beets are a vegetable with a leafy green top and dark red/purple root.
Beet juice comes from the root of the vegetable, sometimes known as the “beetroot,” and this juice has the same red/purple color as the root. Beet juice has many of the same benefits as eating the beetroot, which we’ll discuss in the next sections.
Beet Juice Nutrition Information
What are you consuming when you drink beet juice? Here’s the nutritional information for one cup of beet juice. Remember that this is just an estimate, and there can be slight variations depending on the size and varieties of the beets you use.
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Beet juice has no fat or cholesterol, and it’s fairly low in calories. Beets are also a good source of many vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, Folate, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, and Potassium. Beets contain high levels of antioxidants and natural chemicals called nitrates. Beet juice is an especially good way to get nitrates since the juice comes from raw beets, and cooked beets contain fewer nitrates than raw beets.
Unfortunately, beets have the highest sugar content of any vegetable, so you need to be careful how much beet juice you consume, especially if you are watching your sugar. One cup of beet juice has about 18g of sugar, which is close to the average amount of sugar in a candy bar (23g). If you’re watching your carbs, you should also be careful not to drink too much beet juice, since each cup has about 25 carbohydrates. Additionally, while beets themselves are high in fiber, most of that fiber is lost when a beet is juiced, so you won’t get much fiber from beet juice.
What Are the Health Benefits of Beet Juice?
What is beet juice good for? If you look online, you’ll find claims that beet juice can solve pretty much any medical ailment you have, from making you a better athlete to preventing cancer. Which are true and which are just internet rumors? Below are the key beet juice benefits, along with information on the scientific evidence that backs them up. We also discuss some of the unproven claims about beet juice.
Lower Blood Pressure
Beet juice contains high levels of nitrates, which help lower blood pressure. Nitrates help increase blood flow when the body changes them into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps relax and dilate your blood vessels, which improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Studies have shown that adults who drink two cups of beet juice a day had lower blood pressure at the end of the study.
Another study found that people who drank a glass of beet juice saw their systolic blood pressure lowered by an average of 4-5 points. Beets (especially raw or juiced) are one of the best ways to add nitrates to your diet, so drinking beet juice can definitely help you lower your blood pressure.
The increase in blood flow due to nitrates can also help boost stamina by reducing the amount of oxygen your body needs during exercise. In one study, people who drank beet juice for six days had better stamina during intense workouts. This doesn’t mean beet juice will turn you into a star athlete, but it can help you work out longer and at a higher level before you need to take a break.
Many sites claim that drinking beets will give you more energy throughout the day, however; current studies only show a noticeable increase in stamina during exercise, not all the time.
Beets are also one of the few ways to naturally add betaine to your diet. Betaine is a nutrient that helps prevent cells and proteins from environmental stress, and it has been shown to fight inflammation. Therefore, drinking beet juice can help reduce and prevent inflammation in the body.
Improve Liver Health
The betaine in beets also stimulates the function of liver cells and helps protect the liver and bile ducts. Drinking beet juice can help keep your liver working well.
Help Treat and Prevent Anemia
Beet juice is a good source of iron, and having enough iron in your body can prevent anemia, a condition where there is a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood, causing weakness and fatigue. Drinking beet juice boosts the regeneration of red blood cells, which helps treat and prevent anemia.
Other Health Benefits?
Some of the other purported beet juice health benefits include:
- Preventing cancer
- Stopping asthma symptoms
- Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
- Increasing sex drive
- Reducing the risk of stroke
For all of these claims, there is either no scientific evidence to back them up, or the evidence is inconclusive and more studies need to be done. It’s certainly not impossible for beet juice to have these benefits, but you definitely shouldn’t count on it.
Potential Risks of Beet Juice
On the whole, drinking beet juice is safe, and very few people will suffer adverse side effects because of it. However, there are two risks to be aware of.
First, beets contain fairly high levels of oxalates, which can cause excess bodily fluids to crystallize, which can lead to issues such as kidney and bladder stones. Most oxalates are found in the leafy green parts of beets, but the beetroot itself is also considered high in oxalates, so if you have a history of kidney or gallbladder issues, you may want to avoid drinking beet juice.
Second, beets contain FODMAPs, which are carbohydrates that feed on bacteria in the gut. Some people, particularly those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, may experience an upset stomach and other digestive issues if they consume food or drink with FODMAPs, such as beet juice. Also, some people who drink beet juice may notice their stool and urine turning red. Fortunately, this is a harmless side effect, and it’s nothing to be alarmed about.
How Can You Make or Buy Beet Juice? How Much Should You Drink?
How can you get your hands on some beet juice so you too can enjoy beetroot juice benefits? The easiest way is to buy beet juice at a grocery store or health store. Beet juice has seen a big increase in its popularity recently, so it’s available in many more stores than it was just a few years ago. You can often find bottles of beet juice in the refrigerated section, typically next to other juices. The beet juice may also be combined with other juices or as part of a smoothie.
To make beet juice yourself, you’ll need a juicer and 1-2 beets per serving. Small and firm beets are the best to use. You’ll need to peel the beets first, then cut them into long strips. You can then process them in the juicer. Regardless of whether you make or buy beet juice, it’s important to know that beet juice on its own can have a very strong flavor that many people find unpleasant. Therefore, most people mix beet juice with other juices or flavorings. Apples, carrots, ginger, and celery are popular additives.
Drinking about 1-2 cups of beet juice a day will be enough for you to receive the important health benefits of beets.
Review: How Good for You Is Beet Juice?
So, is beet juice good for you? Beet juice, or beetroot juice, is quickly gaining attention as a new health food, but are the claims true? Beets are high in several vitamins and minerals, and they are an especially good source of nitrates and betaine.
Beet juice benefits include:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Increasing stamina
- Reducing inflammation
- Promoting liver health
- Treating and preventing anemia
Other claims of beetroot juice benefits should be taken with a grain of salt since there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support them. You can either make your own beet juice with a juicer or purchase beet juice from a store. When drinking it, however, you should add other juices to it, since pure beet juice often has a very strong and unpleasant taste. Drinking 1-2 cups of beet juice a day is enough to get the majority of health benefits from this drink.