We’ve always know that beets were a good source of iron and b vitamins, supporting our blood pressure and cardiovascular system; but not many of us heeded our mother’s advice to eat this earthy and slightly sweet vegetable. Now scientists are telling us that beets can help defend against the degeneration of the brain that causes dementia, as well as the many other well-known health benefits. This recent finding suggests that beet juice is particularly beneficial, although they say the vegetable in its whole form can have similar beneficial properties.
My Doctor has recently been extoling the benefits of nitric-oxide rich foods for maintaining cardiovascular health. It seems this odd sounding chemical nutrient is a vasodilator, which means it expands blood vessels. Activating this response brings increased blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain, the area that gets attacked by dementia causing diseases.
Because the strong, earthy flavor of Beet Juice is just not appealing to many people, some have found that adding a little bit of apple juice adds to the sweetness of the beets making the juice more palatable. Many markets now carry Beet Juice in various combinations with other fruit juices, and can even be found in supplement form for those that just can’t stomach the juice. Other vegetables that are high in nitric oxide are celery, spinach, kale, and cabbage. Making a super food blend of these vegetables and beets can create a “brain cocktail” by juicing some of these foods together.
Some things to be cautious of however, people who have had nitrate containing kidney stones, who take nitro glycerin or Viagra, or who have diabetes should avoid beet juice and its naturally high sugar levels. But if you like beet juice and your doctor gives you approval, this can be a great addition to a lifestyle of healthy eating.
As a testament to the benefits of health changing foods such as beets, I’d like to share a little anecdotal evidence. As Hippocrates stated almost 3,000 years ago: “food is medicine.” I began taking his advice in earnest over 6 months ago on the advice of my doctor. At that time, my blood tests were indicating I was pre-diabetic, with elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. My liver was giving off too many toxic enzymes indicating a “fatty liver” caused by too many simple carbohydrates in my body. And at age 61 I had the cardiovascular system of a 65 year old man. After 6 months of eliminating all simple carbohydrates, my fatty liver is gone, my cholesterol and triglycerides are now well in the normal range, I’ve lost 25 pounds, and I have the cardiovascular system of a 49 year old man! In essence, I gained 16 years on my life just by practicing the ancient prescription of Hippocrates “food is medicine”!