Maybe you prefer your beets in a salad with goat cheese, or perhaps you like them roasted alongside a juicy pork tenderloin. Or hey, maybe you think beets taste like dirt. Whatever your opinion, they’re chock full of health benefits — and there might be an even better way to get all their heart-boosting, disease-fighting nutrients: drinking beetroot juice.
Because beetroot juice is especially high in nitrates, health experts recommend it over just eating plain old beets. Nitrates are compounds that convert to nitric acid in our blood, which helps widen and relax blood vessels. You’d have to eat around two or three large beets to get the same amount of nitrates in one eight-ounce glass of beetroot juice. That’s a lot of beets!
What’s more, studies have shown that consuming nitrate-rich beetroot juice has so many health-boosting benefits. Several clinical trials have suggested that beetroot juice can help lower blood pressure. One study showed that people who consumed as little as four ounces of beet-root juice per day lowered their blood pressure. Another animal study showed that consuming the juice lowered overall cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while also reducing oxidative stress on the liver. And if that weren’t enough, drinking beet-root juice has also been shown to boost exercise stamina and even increase muscle power in people with heart failure. Impressive, right?
Beetroot juice isn’t just good for heart health — it’s good for your brain, too! In fact, in one study looking at older adults, the nitrates in beetroot juice showed to increase blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain — the area associated with thinking and behavior. As such, consuming beetroot juice is considered to be a great all-natural way to prevent or slow down cognitive decline. And brain conditions aren’t the only thing beetroot juice could help prevent. One study indicated that beetroots’ betalains, or the antioxidants that give them their reddish-purple hue, could ward off cancer!
Luckily, incorporating beetroot juice into your daily routine is easy. Make your own by juicing two to three large beets or four small beets in your juicer. If you don’t like the taste of beet alone, you can add fresh lemon, ginger, and mint. If you don’t have a juicer, you can also use a high-power blender to make your beetroot juice by chopping one or two beets and blending on high with 1/4 cup regular water or coconut water, and any other ingredients for taste. If making your own juice isn’t really your thing, you can also buy high-quality pre-made beetroot juices at your local health food store or online. We like this one from Beet It (Buy on Amazon, $39.99 for pack of 12).
This story originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.
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