Just the rich burgundy colour of beet (beetroot) juice makes you feel good. You may have hated the pickled beets found in jars and slopped onto a plate with some lettuce when you were a child, but raw beet juice is completely different. For one thing you don’t have to worry about the texture which some find unpalatable.
Most of the nutrient value of beets lies in the layer just underneath the skin, so simply wash this carefully so that it doesn’t “bleed” and juice those beets. A beet is packed with nutrients, and contains vitamins C and A in the form of beta-carotene, the B-complex vitamins, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2) and niacin (B3). Beets are also rich in the minerals calcium, for healthy bones, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium and also has lesser amounts of sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
For centuries beetroot have been used as a cancer remedy in Europe and modern research has found that the selenium and other minerals found in this root vegetable have antioxidant properties which seem to particularly decrease the risks of breast, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers.
Beetroot juice is also thought to be cardio-vascular protective and can help to lower high blood pressure. A study undertaken by researchers at the University of Exeter, UK has shown that beetroot juice can help athletes as they need less oxygen to perform and this means there is less stress on the heart during exercise. It was found that the juice lessened fatigue and improved stamina but it isn’t only athletes who can benefits from drinking it. It improves blood circulation and given the amounts of potassium in the juice, so you are less likely to have muscle cramps and cardio-vascular irregularities.
The trace mineral selenium is though to improve menopausal symptoms including hot flashes or flushes, and as it mimics the action of insulin is useful for diabetics, perhaps helping to prevent secondary symptoms such as macular degeneration and cataracts forming in the eyes. Selenium is also necessary for healthy hair and skin and is believed to slow the skin’s ageing process, helping it retain its youthful elasticity. It also helps to increase the quality of a man’s sperm and its production and also to help male potency. Perhaps this is why this vegetable was regarded as an aphrodisiac in ancient Greece and Rome. (They ate the green tops too as they are still eaten in the Mediterranean area.)
You shouldn’t go overboard with your consumption of beet juice however, as it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and this is no exception. If you drink a lot of it you will have liver problems, and a slight side effect is Beeturia – red urine. Have a glass a day and mix it with carrot juice, celery and apple juice, try the combinations to see which one suits your palate best.