Beet juice contains the nutrients found in beet root, the globe-shaped vegetable from which the juice is extracted. These nutrients include the B vitamin folate and a little vitamin C and iron. Beet juice is also rich in substances that may protect health by lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart and brain.
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Raw beets are used to extract beet juice. The nutrition analysis per 2-inch raw beet, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrient database, is 35 calories, 1 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate. A 2-inch beet also provides 89 mcg of folate, 4 mg of vitamin C and almost 1 mg of iron. There is no significant amount of fat in a beet. Juicing a beet results in a similar nutrition profile, but the 2 g of fiber supplied by the vegetable are lost in the juicing process.
The nutrients supplied by beet juice in significant amounts are important for everyone. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it protects cells from being destroyed by normal body processes and by exposure to environmental pollutants. Folate, also known as folic acid and folacin, is necessary for new cell production and, for pregnant women, helps prevent birth defects in the brain and spine of the fetus. Iron is necessary to ensure the development of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.
A serving of beet juice can help you meet the government recommendation of nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day, according to Harvard School of Public Health. If you have diabetes or other problems with blood sugar, however, you should note that juicing a beet increases the glycemic index of the vegetable because the beet sugar in juice is more easily absorbed into your bloodstream than the beet sugar found in the whole vegetable.
Beet juice is a significant source of nitrates, chemicals that are converted in the body to nitrites, which act as vasodilators, opening up blood vessels and allowing blood to flow easily through the body. Clinical studies published in the professional journals "Hypertension" and "Nitric Oxide" found that this characteristic of beet juice helped reduced blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain in older adults. As a result, the researchers theorize that nitrites in beet juice may help protect heart health and prevent cognitive decline in the aging brain.
Although beet juice contains as many vitamins, minerals and other health-promoting substances as whole beets, all fresh juices lack the fiber found in whole fruits and vegetables. Fiber is what is left behind, and often discarded, after the juicing process. There are many ways to get fiber into your diet, but if you count on fruits and vegetables for an ample supply, you may be better off eating foods whole, rather than juicing them.