The Benefits of Juicing Beets

beetroot juicing recipesBeetroot (more commonly known as just “beet”) juice is a very potent beverage that has a strong yet sweet flavor. The benefits of juicing beets and drinking them several times a week are numerous. The healthy beetroot juice recipes on this page will help you garner all the benefits of these nutrient-packed gifts from the garden. But first, let’s take a look at the top three juicing benefits of beets:

1. Increasing stamina and physical performance during exercise
A study conducted at Northumbria University, U.K,  found that beet juice had a very surprising effect on a group of male cyclists. The cyclists were tested to see how long they could cycle for before starting this experiment. They were then given 8 oz. of beet juice every day for two weeks and tested again to see if there was any difference in their cycling performance. Amazingly, on average the men could cycle 12 percent longer! Researchers attribute at least part of this effect to the abundance of nitrates found in beet juice. Nitrates slow down the rate at which oxygen burns within our muscles and consequently increases the length of time they can perform exercise before fatiguing.

2. Promoting liver health
Beet juice is one of the best vegetable juices for the liver because of its high content of an antioxidant called betaine. Betaine stimulates the liver cells to function optimally and to clear out toxins. When the liver is functioning at its best our whole body benefits greatly, because the liver is the main detoxification organ that clears all kinds of toxic chemicals out of our bloodstream. Betaine also protects the cells of the liver, the gall bladder and the bile duct from oxidative damage.

3. Treating anemia and restoring red blood cell levels
One of the major juicing benefits of beets is the rich content of iron. Iron is essential for building red blood cells, because it is the atom that sits right at the center of a red blood cell molecule. If we get low on iron, our red blood cell account will diminish accordingly. For this reason, drinking fresh beet juice daily is a great choice for those who have anemia, are menstruating or who have just given blood.

Beetroot Juice Recipes

Beet juice is quite concentrated, so it’s critical to dilute it with water or other juices. This is important, because ingesting too much beet juice or even too many beet greens can cause fever or chills, dizziness, hives, temporary paralysis of the vocal chords or increased heart rate. Beets are also high in oxalic acid, so you should avoid them altogether if  your stomach is easily irritated or you have osteoporosis, kidney stones, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

But don’t let the warnings scare you away from beet juice; it can be incredibly beneficial when enjoyed in moderation by healthy people. What is moderation? While you assess how your body will tolerate it, begin with one tablespoon per day. After a few days, work up to one to two ounces per day, depending on how your body reacts. Let any reactions be your guide to whether you should modify the amount. To make sure you know just exactly how much beet juice you’re getting, juice the beet first and set the juice aside before you put the rest of the ingredients into the juicer.

And one last common sense precaution: try to use organic ingredients when you make juice. That will allow you to get more of what you need and less of what you don’t need, like pesticides.

Keeping the above caveats about quantities in mind, here are some  juicing recipes that will allow you to get all the benefits of the mighty beetroot:

Simply healthy

The amount of beet juice you can tolerate, plus

  • 6 carrots

Sweetie

The amount of beet juice you can tolerate, plus

  • 4 carrots
  • 2 Fuji or Gala apples

Variety pack

The amount of beet juice you can tolerate, plus

  • 1 Fuji or Gala apple
  • 1 pear
  • 3  carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 small piece each of ginger and salsify root (approximately 2 inches long for each)

Zingy detoxifier

The amount of beet juice you can tolerate, plus

  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 2 radishes
  • 1 slice Spanish onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbs. cider vinegar

These healthy beetroot juice recipes are just starting points. Feel free to adjust the ingredients and quantities to suit your taste, remembering to always keep the way your body feels in mind and let that be your guide.

Photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian, border by Helga Stolzenwald

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