Beet juice is a remarkable food. Tasty and refreshing, it can be enjoyed simply for its flavor—or viewed as a ruby-red elixir packed with natural goodness. That’s not hyperbole. Preliminary research indicates that by drinking fresh beetroot juice middle aged adults with abnormally high blood pressure can significantly lower their blood pressure. People with normal blood pressure do not experience this effect, so there’s no harm in downing a glass daily, even if your blood pressure is normal.
Other studies indicate that beetroot juice consumption may actually improve the function of the delicate tissue lining one’s blood vessels. Known as the endothelium, this tissue is often the site where early atherosclerosis begins. Atherosclerosis is an underlying cause of much heart disease.
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease; the leading cause of death among American men and women. Known as the “silent epidemic,” due to a relative lack of signs or symptoms, high blood pressure is associated with a greater risk of heart attack or stroke. Doctors always check your blood pressure precisely because this reading is so important to so many aspects of overall health.
Physicians have a broad arsenal of medications at their command to address hypertension, but most agree that preventing high blood pressure from occurring in the first place—by eating a healthful, whole-foods diet, controlling one’s body weight, and getting adequate exercise on a routine basis—is the best approach of all.
The easiest way to prepare and drink fresh beetroot juice daily is to invest in a quality juicing machine. These devices enable you to put whole vegetables or fruits in one end, and extract fresh, ready-to-drink juice from the other.
- 4-6 small-to-medium beets, rinsed
- 2 stalks organic celery
- 1 small-medium tart organic apple (e.g. Granny Smith)
Start with firm, hard, fresh (uncooked) beets. About 4-6 small-to-medium beets will yield about 8 ounces of juice. Some studies on the benefits of beet juice consumption have featured this amount, consumed daily. But you should drink the amount that is most comfortable for you.
It should be noted that beet juice may act as a sort of natural laxative among some people, at least at first. With routine consumption, this effect typically tapers off.
Additions to consider include a small, tart apple, such as organic Granny Smith, a stalk of organic celery, or even parsley, for added flavor. Rinse vegetables or fruit before use. Beets should be quartered; there is no need to peel. Quarter apple and remove core before adding to hopper.
The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) is a non-profit consumer-advocacy organization that publishes an annual list of “Clean” and “Dirty” fruits and vegetables. Apples and celery are among several produce items that are consistently found to have the highest levels of pesticides when grown conventionally. So you may wish to consider buying these items organic.