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Health Benefits of Beet Juice
found in beets.  This is because the fiber in beets is removed through the juicing
process.  The lack of fiber in beet juice allows for fast absorption of nutrients into the
system.  This allows us to receive the most health benefits from the nutrients in beet
juice.  

Beet juice is made by squeezing the juice from raw beets with the use of an electric
juicer.  
Caution: Never drink beet juice alone.  Due to the powerful nutritional
content of beet juice, adverse effects can occur when beet juice is drank by itself.  
Beet juice should be combined with other fruits and vegetables such as apples and
carrots.  By adding other fruits and/or vegetables not only do we get the health
benefits of beet juice, we also get the health benefits of the other fruits and
vegetables as well.  Like beet juice, green juice also provides an overwhelmingly
powerful concentration of nutrients and therefore should never be drank by itself.  If
combining beet juice and green vegetable juice together, be sure to add other
non-green fruits and/or vegetables such as apples and carrots.


Nutrients in Beet Juice

Like raw beets, fresh squeezed beet juice provides an excellent source of several
nutrients.  Both beet roots and beet greens can be juiced.  Beet roots juiced
separately or combined together with beet greens, makes a very potent nutritional
drink.  In order to avoid adverse effects, the juice must be combined with other fruits
and vegetables such as apples and/or carrots.  The addition of other fruits and
vegetables sufficiently dilutes beet juice while increasing the nutritional value and
health benefits of the drink.

Generally, beet greens contain a higher level of nutrients than beet roots.  Beet
greens are an excellent source of calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.  Beet roots are
an excellent source of folic acid, manganese, potassium, and betaine.   Betaine is the
nutrient that gives beet roots their purple-red color.  Both beet roots and beet
greens are good sources of fiber.


Key Nutrients in Beet Greens:

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body with 99% percent of it present in
the bones.  Calcium provides several health benefits for the body especially building
and maintaining bones and teeth.  It's also important in the activity of many
enzymes in the body.   Several actions in the body depend on calcium including the
contraction of muscles, release of neurotransmitters, regulation of heartbeats, and
clotting of blood.

Iron is a trace mineral that is critical to human life. Iron plays the central role in the
hemoglobin molecule of red blood cells.  There it functions in transporting oxygen
from the lungs to the body's tissues and carbon dioxide from the tissues to the
lungs.  Iron provides several other health benefits for the body.  It functions in
several key enzymes in energy production and metabolism, including DNA synthesis.  

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin essential for providing several health benefits for
the body.  Vitamin A plays a major role in the visual system. It's essential for the
functions in the visual process.  An early consequence of vitamin A deficiency is night
blindness and poor dark adaptation. Vitamin A is also essential for proper growth and
development.    

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and an important antioxidant that provides
several health benefits for the body.  The main role of vitamin C is in the manufacture
of collagen.  Collagen is an important protein that's essential for the structures that
hold the body together.  The structures include cartilage, connective tissue,
ligaments, and tendons.  Vitamin C is vital for wound repair, healthy skin, healthy
gums, and the prevention of easy bruising.  Vitamin C is also critical for immune
function, the manufacture of certain nerve transmitting substances and hormones,
and the absorption and utilization of other nutrients.      


Key Nutrients in Beet Roots:

Folic Acid (also known as folate) is critical to cellular division because it's necessary
in DNA synthesis.  So without folic acid, cells do not divide properly.  Folic acid is
essential to everyone regardless of age, but it's especially important in the
development of the nervous system of the fetus.  Deficiency of folic acid during
pregnancy has been linked to several birth defects including neural tube defects such
as spina bifida.  

Manganese is essential particularly because it functions in many enzyme systems
including the enzymes involved in blood sugar control, energy metabolism, and
thyroid hormone function.  Manganese also functions in the antioxidant enzyme
superoxide dismutase (SOD).  Without superoxide dismutase cells are highly
susceptible to damage and inflammation.  Manganese also provides health benefits
for strains, sprains, and inflammation.

Potassium is an electrolyte similar to sodium and chloride.  Electrolytes are mineral
salts that conduct electricity when they're dissolved in water.  Electrolytes are always
found in pairs.  Together they function in the maintenance of water balance and
distribution, kidney and adrenal function, acid-base balance, muscle and nerve cell
function, and heart function.  More than 95% of the potassium in the body is found
within the cells.  

Betaine is the nutrient responsible for the purple-red color in beets.  The major
function of betaine within the body is to reduce the concentrations of homocysteine
(an intermediate in the conversion of the amino acid methionine to the amino acid
cysteine).  A higher than average homocysteine level has been implicated as the
cause of a variety of conditions such as atherosclerosis and osteoporosis.   
Homocysteine can be harmuful to the blood vessels, thereby contributing to the
development of heart disease, stroke, dementia, and peripheral vasular disease
(reduced blood flow to the legs and feet).  Other nutrients that work to reduce
homocysteine levels are vitamin B12 and folate.  Since beets contain both folate and
betaine, the two nutrients work together to reduce homocysteine levels, thereby
preventing heart disease and osteoporosis.      


Beet Juice for Liver Cleansing

Among all the health benefits of beet juice, the most well known are the health
benefits that beet juice provides for the blood and liver.  The liver is a vital organ that
provides many functions in the body including detoxification of the blood, protein
synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion.  Like beet roots,
beet juice is a great source of a wide range of nutrients.  Its most significant
phytochemical is betaine.  

Betaine helps the liver and kidneys recycle the amino acid methionine in order to
maintain the body's stores of s-adenosyl-methionine (commonly referred to as
SAM-e). SAM-e occurs naturally in the body and is required for cellular growth and
repair.  Although SAM-e is distributed throughout the body, it is produced and
consumed mostly in the liver. SAM-e contributes to maintaining mood levels. It's
involved in the biosynthesis of several hormones and neurotransmitters that affect
mood, such as dopamine and serotonin.  Studies show that elderly people and
individuals suffering from osteoarthritis, depression, and various liver disorders tend
to have low levels of SAM-e.  Although SAM-e supplements are available, further
research is being conducted about the safety of taking the supplements.  

Betaine also helps the liver to process fat, thereby preventing the accumulation of
fatty tissues in the liver.  Fatty liver disease is a reversible condition where large
vacuoles of triglyceride fat accumulate in liver cells through steatosis (the process of
abnormal retention of lipids within a cell).  Fatty liver disease has many causes, but
it's often associated with heavy alcohol intake and other diseases that influence fat
metabolism such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.  Malnutrition and excessive
weightloss can also cause fatty liver disease.  

Since the liver is the primary mechanism for detoxification of the blood, it is essential
that it functions properly.  Aside from beets and beet juice, three well known herbs
that provide liver cleansing benefits are milk thistle, burdock root, and dandelion.  All
four of these super foods provide natural detoxification for the liver and they also
help to keep it functioning properly.


Sources:

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia

Murray , Michael N.D.. The Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods.
New York: Atria Books, 2005.

Bowden, Jonny, Ph.D., C.N.S. The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.
Fairwinds Press, 2007

U.C. Berkeley Wellness Letter Books.  Wellness Foods A to Z.
Rebus Inc., 2002

MountainRoseHerbs.com

UMM.edu (University of Maryland Medical Center)

SAM-e.com
The benefits of beet juice go far
beyond general nourishment for the
body.  Beet juice provides many
health benefits for general health,
healing, and rejuvenation.  Not only
does beet juice provide the body with
several vitamins; minerals; and
antioxidants, it’s also one of the best
liver cleansing foods known to man.  
Beet juice is regarded as a superfood
mostly due to the cleansing and
detoxifying actions that it has on the
blood and liver.  Although the benefits
of beet juice are similar to those of
eating raw beets, beet juice is a
concentrated source of the nutrients
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