If you’ve visited a gym in the past year, chances are you’ve heard someone mention beet juice, or you’ve even witnessed firsthand a trim, muscular athlete down a bottle of the crimson-colored juice before pounding the weights.
The potential advantages of drinking beet juice include workout benefits, this ancient, prehistoric food offers much more. Beets contain a variety of unique health-boosting nutrients not found in or in good supply in other foods.
Organic beets deserve a place in your everyday diet for 7 important reasons:
- They can boost your athletic performance, stamina, and endurance
- They help promote a healthy normal inflammatory response
- They help promote healthy blood flow throughout your body and brain
- They support your body’s natural detoxification processes
- They support immune and cellular health
- They promote brain neuroplasticity, or the ability to form new neural pathways, especially when consumed before exercise
- They’re high in valuable nutrients: vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese
So what is it about beets that make them such a unique and valuable vegetable?
Three things: nitrates, bioactive pigments called betalains, and other beneficial phytochemical compounds.
Beets are an excellent source of nitrates, which account for many of their potential health benefits.
But you’ve probably also heard that processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and ham contain nitrates, too, and they’re potentially hazardous to your health.
What’s the difference?
All nitrates convert to nitrites in your body. Nitrites are found in the preservative sodium nitrite that’s added to processed meats, and they can also occur naturally in drinking water, fertilizer, sewage treatment facilities and septic systems.
Here’s the problem with nitrites in cured or processed meats… When you heat or cook these foods, the nitrites can convert into nitrosamines, a dangerous substance. For that reason, I recommend avoiding any meat with sodium nitrite listed on the package label.
The naturally occurring nitrates in beets also convert to nitrites when you eat them, by the bacteria in your mouth. But the similarities end there.
Beets contain high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients that provide a protective effect against the health-harming actions of nitrites. Thanks to these valuable nutrients, the converted nitrites in beets don’t pose a threat to your health.
Unlike the nitrites in processed meats, fertilizers, and drinking water, the naturally occurring nitrates in beets offer health benefits.
Beets contain one of the highest levels of nitrates found in foods and that’s a real plus. When you eat beets, your body converts these nitrates into nitric oxide, or NO, through what’s known as the ‘nitrate-to-nitrite-to-nitric oxide (NO) pathway’.
And NO just happens to be vital for life…
Nitric Oxide: The Key to Healthy Blood Flow and Other Potential Benefits
If you were to look inside your blood vessels, you would see a thin lining of cells called the endothelium.
These endothelial cells line your entire circulatory system, from your heart to the smallest of your capillaries.
Inside these cells, a soluble gas called nitric oxide, or NO, is continually produced from the amino acid, L-arginine.
This gas, NO, is an important signaling molecule in every cell of your body. It plays an important role in:
- Supporting your cardiovascular health
- Promoting your normal endothelial function
- Promoting healthy dilation of your veins and arteries to support healthy blood flow
- Protecting your cells’ powerhouses, or mitochondria
- Preventing your red blood cells from sticking together
Nitric oxide helps your blood vessels relax and increases the diameter of your vessels for improved blood flow.
Healthy blood flow is essential for supplying your brain and organs with oxygen and nutrients. Your blood nourishes and oxygenizes your immune system and muscles, and helps keep your heart beating. Just as importantly, your blood carries away wastes and carbon dioxide.
Nitric Oxide – and healthy blood flow – both are essential for energy production and optimal performance throughout your entire body, including your brain and muscles.
Obviously, without healthy blood flow, the functions of your cells and organs, including those of your brain, might be compromised.
Healthy Blood Flow and Your Brain
Your brain is one of the most oxygen-demanding organs in your body. Because nitric oxide travels to the parts of your body requiring oxygen, your brain can potentially benefit when you have abundant NO.
A recent study of 26 men and women aged 55 and over examined how beet juice affects brain health when combined with exercise.
This group of individuals did not regularly exercise before the study. During the study, the participants walked for 50 minutes on a treadmill one hour after drinking beet juice, three times a week.
What did the researchers discover at the end of the six-week study?
- Combining beet juice with exercise increased blood flow and delivered more oxygen to brain tissues
- The group consuming beet juice had much higher levels of nitrate and nitrite in their bodies than the placebo group after exercise
- The group who exercised and drank beet juice had brain networks that more closely resembled those of younger adults, suggesting greater neuroplasticity, or the ability to form new neural pathways
These findings just confirm what I repeatedly state – your diet matters for your brain health, especially as you grow older.
7 Reasons Why Your Blood Flow Might Need a Boost
Maybe you’re wondering by now why your blood flow or circulation – and your production of nitric oxide – might be less-than-optimal. Here are seven of the most common causes:
- Aging affects your body’s ability to produce NO. On average, typical Americans eating the SAD (Standard American Diet) lose 10 percent of their ability to make nitric oxide every ten years.
- Inadequate sun exposure can result in lower NO production. Sunlight (UV) striking your skin releases nitric oxide into your bloodstream, which is vital for your skin, cardiovascular and mitochondrial health.
- Stress can constrict your arteries, thicken your blood, and damage blood vessel linings, making it more difficult for your blood to flow easily.
- Excessive sitting slows blood circulation to your organs and tissues.
- Lack of exercise can cause blood in your pelvis and legs to pool and become stagnant.
- Smoking harms your blood cells and damages the structure and function of your heart and blood vessels.
- Fluoride and chlorine if present in your drinking and showering water can convert NO into other substances, including toxic and destructive nitric acid.
Since your daily performance matters – whether you’re an athlete or just want your body to function at its optimal best, it makes good sense to do all you can to optimize your blood flow.
Making sure you get regular, sensible sun exposure, moving and exercising more, and addressing your stress with meditation, yoga, and deep breathing are all valuable first steps you can take to promote healthy blood flow.
Adding beets to your daily regimen is another important step you can take.
Taking simple steps like these can help you feel more energetic and enjoy a clearer, more focused mind.
You’ll be helping to nourish your heart, brain, and muscles with the oxygen and nutrients they need for optimal functioning.
And, with improved blood flow, you may even discover you have the strength and motivation to exercise regularly, if you’re not already.
Whether you desire a boost for your stamina and endurance, support for your body’s natural detox processes, protect your cells and organs against environmental stress, or just want to support healthy blood flow throughout your brain and body, this product might be just the ticket!
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Marina Love is an Alchemist and Purveyor of Transformation. Being a leader in the fields of Holistic Healing, Nutrition, Herbalism, Longevity, Beauty, Entrepreneurship & Personal/Spiritual Development. Marina studied extensively with The BodyMind Institute and various private programs and individuals to acquire authentic knowledge and wisdom. Marina offers Goddess Circles, Cacao Ceremonies and Individual therapy sessions & Programs in addition to her projects Goddesspreneur Academy, Love Movement, House of Aphrodisia and Guiltless Chocolates/Beyond Desserts. Her heart’s mission is to return humanity from headless living into heart harmony based conscious living for the freedom, expansion, and sustainability of the greater good.