Beetroot juice is a drink that is gaining notoriety thanks to numerous scientific researches carried out in recent years and that have demonstrated its interesting healthy properties. In fact, it is sufficient to type the word into the search engines of the most important magazines in the sector to understand how much science has taken an interest in beetroot juice and how it has been possible, in this way, to bring out its health benefits. Today we are talking about the properties of beetroot juice, how to prepare it and its possible side effects.
Beetroot juice, nutrients
Beetroot juice brings beneficial compounds, such as flavonoids, polyphenols and betalains, substances with an antioxidant and anticancer action (Benjamim et al, Front Nutr, 2022). Beetroot juice also contains nitrates that, in the body, become nitric oxide with a beneficial action on blood flow, blood pressure and sports performance (Gallardo et al, Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2021). In addition to these very important substances, beetroot juice also contains mineral salts, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, selenium and zinc, and vitamins, such as C and group B (FoodData Central).
Beetroot juice against hypertension
Beetroot juice has an antihypertensive action. In fact, this drink promotes vasodilation and improves the functionality of the endothelium, which is the inner lining of blood vessels and the heart. This leads to a reduction in blood pressure (Stander et al, J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2021). In particular, it was observed that the intervention with beetroot juice for a few weeks led to a reduction in systolic blood pressure by 3.55 mmHg and in diastolic blood pressure by 1.32 mmHg. Perhaps at first sight this effect may seem insignificant, but the results immediately become noteworthy if we add that, based on scientific studies, a reduction in blood pressure of just 2 mmHg in the case of hypertension can lead to a reduction of up to 10% in mortality in case of heart attack or stroke (Benjamim et al, Front Nutr, 2022).
Beetroot juice and physical performance
Beetroot juice provides nitrates. Once ingested, these substances lead to the formation of nitric oxide that, in turn, acts on the heart rate, blood circulation, muscle contractility and cellular respiration, helping to improve physical performance. It has been observed that the intake of 140 ml of beetroot juice every day for a week improved performance in athletes (Nyakayiru et al, Nutrients, 2017- Burgos et al, Nutrients, 2022).
Beetroot juice for the brain and mood
Cadmium is a heavy and toxic metal, present in the air, water and soil, in plants and animals, both naturally and as a result of industrial and agricultural. Cadmium enters the body through digestion and breathing and tends to accumulate not only in the kidneys, liver and bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis, hypertension and diabetes, but also in the brain, especially in the hippocampus, the center of memory and reasoning, increasing the risk of neuroinflammation, Alzheimer's and dementia in general. Beetroot juice, rich in antioxidants, has been shown to protect against the neurotoxic action of heavy metals. This action was even more beneficial if, together with the beetroot, the juice is also prepared with carrots, which enhance the antioxidant action (Matysek et al, Foods, 2022). In addition, beetroot juice improves cerebral blood flow and, consequently, cognitive function. Not only that, beetroot also has an anxiolytic and antidepressant action (Matysek et al, Foods, 2022).
Beetroot juice, diabetes and inflammation
Beetroot juice is a concentrate of antioxidant substances and useful for reducing inflammation levels. These properties are useful in case of chronic conditions such as diabetes. In fact, diabetes also brings with it chronic inflammation and an increase in free radicals which can cause long-term complications, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and cellular degeneration. Instead, the intake of beetroot juice has been shown to reduce, in people with diabetes, the indicators of inflammation and to improve the presence of antioxidants (Karimzadeh et al, J Food Sci, 2022).
Beetroot juice, preparation
Wash and peel a small beetroot, half in case of a large one. Centrifuge the beetroot together with an apple and a carrot, which give it a sweet note. Add half a glass of pomegranate juice and you have an exceptional drink!
Beetroot juice, risks and warnings
Beetroot juice, as we have seen, is beneficial. However, like everything, you shouldn't take it too much with the idea of getting more benefits. In fact, the risk is to exceed the quantity of nitrates beyond the acceptable limit, thus also increasing the presence of N nitroso compounds, which derive from nitrates. N nitroso compounds can increase the risk of cellular degeneration (Zamani et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2021). Be careful even if you are predisposed to kidney stones. In fact, beetroot contains oxalates that can promote their formation (Ferraro et al, Nutrients, 2020).