Health Benefits of Beet Juice

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 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.

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