Beets have rich vitamin and mineral content. Juicing beets allows you to take in vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-6 and C, as well as folic acid, potassium, calcium, iron and fiber. Beet juice also contains antioxidants to combat cell damage and disease. But you do have to watch for dangers of juicing beets, including drinking too much and the possibility of harmful bacteria. Before making significant dietary changes, consult your doctor.
Health Value of Beet Juice
The antioxidants in beet juice provide you with a convenient way to help your body fight free radicals, which damage cells and might contribute to cancer, heart disease and other diseases. Researchers at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom found that a concentrated shot of beet, also called beetroot, juice has high total antioxidant and polyphenol content. Polyphenols act as antioxidants to block the action of enzymes that cancer cells need for growth. Antioxidants from the beetroot shot were more bioaccessible than those from other vegetable juices, the researchers report in the June 2011 issue of the “Journal of Functional Foods.”
Excess consumption of beet juice might cause an accumulation of metals, such as iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus, in the liver, according to researchers performing lab tests in Budapest, Hungary. “Extreme consumption of table beet root can cause several disturbances,” in healthy patients, the researchers report in the September 2007 issue of “Acta Biologica Hungarica.” Excess consumption needs special attention from patients with hemochromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes excess accumulation of iron in the body. This can lead to damage of the liver and pancreas. But the researchers added that moderate consumption benefits people with iron-deficiency anemia and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Beets and other fresh-squeezed vegetables and fruits might produce harmful bacteria in the juice, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The produce and juice is often treated to destroy the bacteria or food-borne bacteria can contaminate the juice. Although most people have protection from their immune system, outbreaks of food-borne illness have been traced to drinking fruit and vegetable juice not treated to kill the harmful bacteria, the FDA states. Symptoms of food-borne illness might include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms. Clean blenders thoroughly after use. Fresh-squeezed juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria, so make only as much as you can drink at one time.
From a dietary standpoint, beet juice is potent, so your body might not be ready to consume large amounts when you start out, according to Juicing-for-Health.com. Start with the juice of a half medium-sized beetroot once a week and slowly increase to a whole beetroot in a week. Firm, unwrinkled beets work best for juicing. Beetroot stays fresh for a couple of weeks without the leaves attached. Beets only keep for three to four days in the refrigerator with the green attached because the root has to supply moisture to the leaves.
- Journal of Functional Foods: A Beetroot Juice Shot is a Significant and Convenient Source of Bioaccessible Antioxidants
- Acta Biologica Hungarica: Extreme Consumption of Beta Vulgaris Var. Rubra Can Cause Metal Ion Accumulation in the Liver
- Drugs.com: Beetroot
- FDA: Talking About Juice Safety: What You Need to Know
- Juicing-for-Health.com: Beets