We have all heard the adage… you are what you eat. This age-old saying often gets lost beneath all the noise of wonder drugs, medical technologies, and revolutionary biohacks. It’s tempting to think that this kind of folk wisdom has been superseded by modern medical innovation, or even worse, that new innovation is required because this kind of old-school approach doesn’t work.
Take beets, for example. These prehistoric root vegetables have had ages to evolve into a hearty, nutrient-dense, performance-boosting food. Today, they’re mostly exploited (and genetically modified) by Big Food as a sugar source—a use that entirely bypasses the huge array of benefits that this plant has to offer.
Natural energy and stamina
Beets are so packed with beneficial nutrients and compounds that they’ve now earned the honor of being called a superfood.
Their rise to health food stardom was brought about by athletes, who (re)discovered that beets are an incredible performance-enhancing food. They’re high in nitrates, which are converted to nitric acid in the body. Nitric acid helps dilate blood vessels, thus allowing for a more efficient use of oxygen. Some studies have even shown that nitric acid increases the efficiency of your mitochondria (the energy generators of your body’s cells).
All of these mechanisms lead to a dramatic boost in energy, stamina, and overall physical performance. When researchers put beetroot juice to the test, they found that a single serving increased the length of time professional divers could hold their breath by 11%, and increased the length of time athletes’ were able to exercise by nearly 20%.
When researchers put beetroot juice to the test, they found that a single serving increased the length of time professional divers could hold their breath by 11%
The same vasodilatory effect helps sharpen cognitive function and improve mood by increasing blood flow to the brain, and has even been shown to lower systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points per serving.
How Beet Juice Lowers Your Blood Pressure
As we mentioned earlier, the nitrates found in beets go through a conversion process that allows your blood vessels to EXPAND, which improves blood flow throughout your entire body, thus lowering your blood pressure.
And the benefits extend even further when consumed in juice form, allowing you to get the full amount of phytonutrients available. The concentrated amount of nutrients in juice are directly absorbed into your bloodstream, and do not require digestion. This means that they get to work quickly, offering the MAXIMUM benefits for reducing blood pressure.
In fact, according to a recent study published by the American Heart Association, participants who drank just 8 ounces of beetroot juice experienced a reduction in BOTH systolic and diastolic blood pressure within 3 to 6 hours of consumption, and with lasting effects remaining even after 24 hours.
American Heart Association, participants who drank just 8 ounces of beetroot juice experienced a reduction in BOTH systolic and diastolic blood pressure within 3 to 6 hours of consumption
Disease prevention and longevity support
The sustainable energy, physical and mental performance enhancement, and natural blood pressure support should already be reason enough for you to incorporate this powerhouse food into your diet—but that still only scratches the surface of their benefits.
Along with a bevy of vitamins and minerals, beets also contain high levels of powerful antioxidants like betaine and betalains. These incredible compounds aid your body’s natural detoxification systems by scavenging damaging free radicals—and they even help catalyze a deep detox process called phase 2 cleansing, wherein toxins are neutralized and prepared for excretion from the body.
An increasing body of research proves that protecting the body from oxidative stress and excess toxin accumulation is one of the keys to longevity. Working in these ways, beets slow aging, control chronic inflammation (which is often called “the root of all disease”), and reduce the risk of serious conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, immune dysfunction, arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic pain, and more.
Studies have even demonstrated that, because beet juice prevents the formation of cancer-causing byproducts called nitrosamines, it can useful for preventing and treating pancreatic, breast, prostate, skin, and lung cancers.
Tips for adding more beets to your life
It’s easy to integrate beets into your diet—they’re deliciously sweet and earthy, inexpensive, and even easy to grow in a backyard garden.
Roast them in coconut oil and Himalayan salt for an irresistible superfood side dish, or find your favorite Borscht recipe. They’re also great added to salads, roasted or raw.
If you want to preserve their full spectrum of nutrients (some are destroyed by cooking or roasting), eat them raw or juice them. Raw beets even make a wonderful addition to smoothies (especially before physical activity).
And don’t throw away beet greens! They’re also packed with healing nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, phosphorous, zinc, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, calcium, iron, and even protein. Saute them, add them to salads, or throw them in your smoothie with the rest of the beet.
1 medium beetroot
1 medium pear
2-3 large carrots
4 stalks celery
fresh ginger root or ground ginger (to taste)
1 medium beetroot
2 medium apples (Granny Smith)
1/4 of a lemon (including rind)
1/4 of a lime (including rind)
2 oranges (peeled)
Process ingredients in a juicer. Stir, and enjoy!
If you do not have a juicer, or prefer the convenience of a ready-made product, check your local health food stores. You can also find beetroot juice available for purchase online, as well.