Remember when your mom or dad made you eat this …. thing …. this … this, purple vegetable called a beet?!

Maybe you avoided it as a kid, but as we mature our bodies and taste buds begin craving new flavors, and the flavor of a beet soon becomes surprisingly sweet and refreshing (especially to those who’ve eaten all-fried foods for years) … you could say its a taste worth of cultivating!

Did you know …

Beets and Swiss chard are actually different varieties within the same plant? One species was tended for the root, and the other for its leaf. You may have noticed that their edible leaves share quite a resemblance, in looks, texture and taste.

Beetroot juice has health benefits due in-part to its deep ruby hue.  It brightens dull eyes, cleanses the large intestine, and can increase your blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity by 400%! Want to know more? 

I’ll give you more … for example, unless you want to punish yourself, don’t juice beet greens – ever! – ask me how I know … 

Beets Better Your Lymphatic Flow

Beetroot is both a blood builder and detoxifier.

As Dr. John Douillard describes, the importance of our lymphatic system (which gets very little attention these days but is responsible for the removal of toxic congestion from our capillaries, gut, and brain) is the “biggest drain we have in the body [and iit] can stay clogged for many years. This forces us to adapt to an environment of toxins that stress and weaken immunity and other important pathways of detoxification.”  But beets can help.

Beetroot is kind of like a little nutritional goldmine: rich in antioxidants, fiber, and detoxifying nitrates, which can increase oxygen flow and keep our blood moving. It’s really important for our livers, too, which is usually where toxins back-up in the body once ymph gets taxed. Beets shower the liver with antioxidant-rich enzymes, and they’re also high in glutathione-boosting flavonoids (which are great for the eyes, chemical withdrawal, memory-loss and anti-aging).

Nutritionists know that the liver and the lymph system work together. So, while the liver may not come to mind first when we’re aiming at a healthier lifestyle (we always seem to hear about heart health, intestional health, cholesterol, or hypertension), its the one organ critical to the function of all of our body systems, and espeically the blood/circulatory, digestive, cardiovascular, and adrenal systems (the adrenal system gets particularly tapped when we get stressed out).

Longevity, and Beet’s Clean Eating Cousins

While beets are in the same family as chard, that family of vegetables also includes spinach and quinoa. The benefits of beet juice doesn’t just provide you with folate and zinc; it’s a great source for convertable vitamins A, C, E K, B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese and more …  it’s even said to support longevity!

Remember those legendary Russian centenarians? Maybe it was the borscht (a pungent Russian beet dish). According to Russian scientists, beet juice’s bright pigments offer up powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and may have a profound effect against certain cancers, including especially colon cancer. They credit the beet’s betacyanins (the pigments that are red-violet in color).

Shall we go on? Good! 

Beets Build Blood & Brain Power

Beetroot juice improves the hemoglobin levels in the blood.

And, it improves hemoglobin helps those suffering anemia, or those prone to it — like pregnant mamas and young women, those over 60, and those with a history of pulmonary issues.  In one study, beet juice improved aerobic endurance in just a single week’s worth of daily doses.

We all know diets rich in vegetables are good for all of us and have proven to have substantial benefits for upper-tier athletics – and it’s interesting to see the how the beneficial effects of beetroot juice supplementation have been tested during cycling, walking, and running, but until 2014 it had never been tested for its effects on swimmers. It just so happens this positive study showed that beetroot juice affected the performance of master swimmers.

So if swimming’s your jam – there may be a way to beet the competition. Knocking back a shot of beetroot juice can enhance muscle efficiency by reducing the oxygen-cost of exercise, lowering blood pressure and improving cognitive function. Even football players on Auburn University’s National Championship team credited their “secret beet sauce” with giving them extra stamina and energy!

Here’s Where YOU Can Help, Dear Reader . . . become a health detective  🙂

For two years, I’ve scoured the internet seeking sources that can back up the health and benefit claims of fruits, vegetables, and supplements (sometimes called “boost”).  

In the chart below are the health claims I and others have discovered about beet. Where you see a footnote, you’ll find a link to the source.  If there is not a footnote, then that means that the specific health claim is made, but neither I or anyone I know has been able to locate sources of research or anecdote to backup the claim.

So, if you are aware of a direct source of research or anecdotes to back up the claims, please post them in the comments.  I’ll check them out and if they meet our standards, I’ll make sure that they’re included in the next edition of the blog and give you a shout-out!

Reported Health Benefit Claims of Beet:

Aid in digestion [4]

Increases energy [5]

Lowers blood pressure [3][4]

Increases mental strength [2]

Prevents some forms of cancer [6]

Anti-inflammatory [7]

So, if you’re looking to get with the beet: ask for a Purple Punch or an Extreme Fit when you visit The Juice Shack Today!