When you think of your favorite vegetables, beets probably don’t make the list. Though these vegetables are frequently overlooked, they are loaded with healthy nutrients – particularly for your brain. Keep reading to learn more about the health benefits of beets and how to make your own beet juice at home.
Homemade Beet Juice Recipe
Making your own homemade beet juice is not difficult but it does take a little time. To give it a try, simply follow the recipe provided here below.
- 1 large beet
- 1 medium apple, cored
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- Coarsely chop the beet, apple, carrot, and ginger.
- Combine the ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of water.
- Blend until the ingredients are liquefied, adding more water if needed.
- Fold a piece of cheesecloth in half and stretch it over a bowl.
- Pour in the blended beet mixture then gather the edges of the cheesecloth.
- Squeeze as much liquid out as you can, collecting it in the bowl.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately or chill, if desired.
If you have a juicer, you can create homemade beet juice in just a few minutes’ time. Simply wash and chop the beets to fit into the juicer then feed them through! Stir in some ground ginger or a pinch of turmeric to give your juice a new flavor profile.
The Health Benefits of Beets
Each cup of chopped beets contains about 60 calories. A serving this size contains just 0.2 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbohydrate, 2.2 grams of protein, and nearly 4 grams of fiber. Beets are also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and copper as well as carotenoids and flavonoids.
When it comes to the health benefits of beets, the fiber content of the vegetable is good for your heart – it helps reduce cholesterol and blood triglycerides, reducing your risk for heart disease. It also helps prevent atherosclerosis, a condition that contributes to heart attack and stroke. The nutrients found in beets may help to prevent certain cancers including colon, lung, and skin cancers, while the betaines found in beet juice support healthy liver function.
As a natural source of vitamin C, beets support respiratory health and may reduce asthma symptoms as well. A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C boosts the immune system and protects your cells against free-radical damage. It also supports blood health. The beta-carotene in beets protects your vision and helps prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Beets for the Brain
In addition to the health benefits mentioned in the previous section, beets are also excellent for brain health. These purple vegetables are high in nitrates which act as vasodilators, opening up the blood vessels to improve circulation. Good blood flow to the brain is essential for protecting brain health and preventing neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. The nutrients in beet juice can also lower blood pressure to further boost circulation.
According to the results of a study published in the Journals of Gerontology in September 2017, beets can improve neuroplasticity in addition to boosting blood flow and increasing oxygenation in the brain. This study involved 26 middle-aged women and it lasted for six weeks. An hour before exercising for 50 minutes, half of the women were given beet juice to drink three times a week and the others were given a placebo.
At the end of the study, the women who drank the beet juice were found to have increased tissue oxygenation and improved blood flow. They also showed signs of improved brain neuroplasticity to the somatomotor cortex – the part of the brain most commonly affected by dementia. One of the study authors is quoted saying that nitric oxide (which can be found in large doses in beets) travel to the areas of the body that need oxygen the most, and that includes the brain.
-  Petrie, Meredith. “Beet Root Juice: An Ergogenic Aid for Exercise and the Aging Brain.” The Journals of Gerontology. Sept 2017; 72(9): 1284-89. <https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article-abstract/doi/10.1093/gerona/glw219/2452303/Beet-Root-Juice-An-Ergogenic-Aid-for-Exercise-and?redirectedFrom=fulltext>