What is it about the chemical composition of beetroot juice which brings so many health benefits?
Anyone concerned about high blood pressure will be interested to know that drinking just one glass of beetroot juice has measurable, beneficial effects in just 24 hours.
Effects of Beetroot Juice on Blood Pressure
Researchers in London say that naturally occurring nitrates in the beetroot produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens vessels and arteries, lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardio-vascular conditions.
The findings of the study at Queen Mary University were published in the journal of the American Heart Association and confirm long-held beliefs that the beetroot can justifiably join the list of authentic super-foods.
Composition of Beetroot Juice
According to www.agriculturalproductsindia.com the chemical breakdown of beetroot includes:
vitamins – folic acid, vitamin C, small amounts of vitamins B1, B2 and B3 and vitamin A in the form of bera-carotene
minerals – rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. Also smaller amounts of iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium
amino acids – in small amounts, mainly protein
calories – one 5cm of beetroot contains 35 calories
anti-oxidants – Its carotenoids and flavanoids can help reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which can lead to damaged artery walls
anti- carcinogenic color– Its deep red color comes from betacyanin, known to be effective against colon cancer.
silica – Its rich stock of silica helps the utilization of calcium in the body which promotes healthy skin, hair, nails and bones.
Additional Health Claims About Beetroot Juice
Within the fields of alternative and herbal medicine there have been several further claims about the beneficial properties of beetroot, such as:
helps liver, kidney and bladder function
helps in the treatment of kidney stones and gall stones
cleans the intestines
improves menstrual problems
aids eye fatigue and tiredness
Whilst scientific proof is still awaited on claims such as these, it is true that the beetroot has played an important role in the history of medicine throughout the world.
History of the Beet
In medieval England, beetroot juice or broth was recommended as an easily digested food for the aged weak and infirm. In mythology Aphrodite is said to have eaten beets to retain her beauty. In Africa beets are used as an antidote to cyanide poisoning.
Beetroot Usage Guidelines
For anyone thinking of incorporating beetroot into a regular diet, here a few pieces of advice:
Use only firm and smooth beets, avoiding those that are soft and shriveled.
Dilute the juice with water or other less potent juices such as celery or carrot.
Take the beets in small amounts. Larger portions taken too regularly could have unpleasant side effects.
Beetroot juice is readily available from most reputable health food shops and online. It is best taken when incorporated into other dishes or blended, by personal experimentation, with other juices.