Beet juice’s nutrient-packed power has gotten a huge reputation boost among athletes over the last decade or so, to the point where you could be forgiven if you think that if you drink it three times, it turns you into an insanely wild, untamable fitness beast along the lines of Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice maniac.
While that isn’t exactly what happens, research has shown beet juice can rev up your performance and endurance during physical activity while also reducing blood pressure and doing much more.
Here are just a few of the reasons you should look at incorporating beet juice into your routine:
- Athletic performance and endurance — Beets contain nitric oxide, which improves your circulation and respiratory systems’ ability to supply the oxygen your muscles need to function efficiently as you exercise. It stimulates the relaxation of blood vessels (which also lowers blood pressure) and boosts oxygen flow and absorption within your muscles.
Its benefit to performance has been shown for people undertaking numerous types of aerobic activity, and the nitrates are believed to also boost endurance by allowing more efficient oxygen use.
- Source of essential nutrients — Beets have a load of other nutrients your body needs to function correctly, with potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium among them. These bring a host of other benefits to your body from supporting immune health to strengthening bones and muscles.
They also contain folate, which those of childbearing age are encouraged to consume as it can prevent severe birth defects.
- May prevent cancer, dementia and other diseases — Nitrates like those in beet juice have been linked to improved oxygen flow to the brain’s frontal lobe in people in the early stages of dementia, which may improve cognition and behavior.
Beets also contain betalains, which have been shown to prevent cancer cells from growing in laboratory studies.
Juicing beets is believed to preserve more of their nutrients than cooking them, although it does strip out their fiber and protein. You can drink it straight, add it to smoothies or try a powdered supplement.