Pomegranate juice move aside, beet juice is taking over! Red beets and their juice are an excellent source of nutrition.
Pomegranate juice move aside, beet juice is taking over! The wild beet, the ancestor of the beet many of us currently eat, is thought to have originated in prehistoric times in North Africa and grew wild along Asian and European coasts; their greens were used for food. It was not until the ancient Romans came along that beetroots were cultivated for food.
Today beets are known for their sugar content (sugar beets) and the real nutritional benefits of beets are not necessarily a part of popular culture. But the Lempert Report predicts beets popularity to rise as beet juice will take over store shelves. Red beets and their juice are an excellent source of nutrition. Beets are a very good source of fiber, potassium, manganese, and folate; they are also a good source of vitamin C, zinc, copper, and iron.
Beets are also a rich source of polyphenols (the antioxidants we’ve been hearing so much about in dark purple vegetables) and betalains a relatively new potent antioxidant on the health scene thought to quench free radicals and reverse their damage.
What are Antioxidants? Antioxidants are nothing more than vitamins, A, C and E, the mineral selenium, and bioactive compounds like carotenoids and polyphenols found in foods. Our need for them is derived from a paradox in metabolism. Our bodies require oxygen to function, but oxygen - by itself - is highly reactive, and creates harmful byproducts through oxidation. These byproducts, called free radicals, are potentially damaging to cells. Antioxidants, as the name reveals, can stabilize free radicals before they cause harm.
Beets are also known to support liver function and moreover, recent clinical research suggests beets and their juice are useful in healing a variety of degenerative conditions. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that polyphenols can help prevent cardiovascular disease in humans.
Serve up fresh beet juice to your customers mixed with a little orange or apple juice to make it more palatable for those trying it for the first time. Also do keep in mind that beets are a potent liver food and drinking beet juice on an empty stomach can cause some nausea.