Beetroot may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no denying the fact that it comes with a host of health benefiting properties. The deep maroon coloured veggie is always striking on the plate, and when made into juice, is the best way to enjoy its earthy flavours. Therefore, to give yourself a health boost, it is advisable to make it a regular feature in your daily diet. Beetroot juice is particularly good for you if had before and after exercising. It is a primary ingredient in what is known as a miracle health drink – ABC, comprising apple, beetroot and carrot. If had every morning, it is touted to keep diseases at bay. The deliciously sweet flavour of this health boosting juice comes packed with Vitamins A, C, K, beta carotene, polyphenols, antioxidants and folate among other important micronutrients. Recent studies largely claim that beetroot juice can work wonders as a pre and post workout drink by boosting energy, blood flow and endurance.
Here are some of the benefits of drinking beetroot juice –
1. May Boost Brain Performance in Older Adults
A recent study done by Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, states that drinking beetroot before exercising may aid brain performance for older adults. Researchers found that older adults who consumed beetroot juice prior to engaging in moderately intense exercise demonstrated greater connectivity in brain regions associated with motor function. In recent years, beetroot has gained popularity for its potential health benefits, which include reduced blood pressure and increased exercise performance. Such benefits have been attributed to the high nitrate content in beetroot. When consumed, nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, which studies have shown can lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to the brain, particularly to a region associated with motor control, cognitive functioning, emotion, and other brain functions. Such connectivity is usually seen in the brains of younger individuals, the team notes.
2. May Boost Your Muscle Power
A research study done by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that drinking concentrated beetroot juice increases muscle power in patients with heart failure. The researchers believe that high nitrate content in beet juice could explain the improved muscle power in the study participants. Earlier research had found that dietary nitrate improves muscle performance in many elite athletes. The nitrates in beet juice, spinach and other leafy green vegetables such as arugula and celery are processed by the body into nitric oxide, which is known to relax blood vessels and have other beneficial effects on metabolism.
3. Can Help You Beat Mountain Sickness
The next time you plan a high altitude trip, don’t forget to carry a bottle of beetroot juice in your backpack. Researchers have found that nitrate-rich beetroot juice helps the body acclimatise more quickly and thoroughly at high altitude. Drinking beet juice can help you beat acute mountain sickness, caused by lower air pressures at high altitude which affects the ability of our bodies to take up oxygen, the findings showed.
“It may be the extra boost your body needs to deliver enough oxygen to your tired muscles and keep you healthy when you are climbing a high mountain,” said the study’s corresponding author Svein Erik Gaustad, from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
4. Boost Performance for Athletes
A study done by Kansas State University stated that the nitrate found in beetroot concentrate increases blood flow to skeletal muscles during exercise by almost 38 percent to fast-twitch muscle fibres – the ones used for explosive running. The study also found that in addition to improving athletic performance, beetroot can also improve the quality of life for those who have suffered heart failure by improving their blood flow.
5. Brings Relief from Sore and Stiff Muscles
According to an article by Bodypower, beetroot juice has especially been lauded for its DOMS beating properties. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a condition wherein the muscles get extremely sore and stiff after a strenuous and highly exerting activity. The juice is known to have alleviating effects on DOMS and also helps in speeding up the recovery process after a heavy workout. Beetroot juice has traditionally been found to help improve endurance; it therefore works great as pre-workout drink too!
A glass of beetroot juice helps in giving you all the vitamins and minerals in a concentrated form. If your mixture is too thick you can add some water to balance the consistency. Don’t remove the pulp that’s where all your fiber is. Also, remember that plain beetroot juice may contain oxalic acid and therefore it is good to blend it with other fruits or vegetables.