Most people consume raw beet juice and beets in limited quantities due to their high sugar content. But fermented beets can be one of the healthiest vegetables out there!
Fermented foods are pack with probiotics or good bacteria. Many studies have confirmed how the ideal balance and diversity of bacteria in your gut forms the foundation for mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Fermented beet juice has way more benefits that go beyond probiotics.
Raw Beets Boost Heart Health
Raw beets can lower blood pressure by an average of 4 to 5 points in a matter of hours. This wonder happens because of the naturally-occurring nitrates found in beets, which transform into nitric oxide in the body.
Nitric oxide aids to relax and dilate the blood vessels, thus promoting blood flow and reducing blood pressure. In medicine, nitrates are used to manage angina and congestive heart failure, and studies concluded that prescription nitrates have the same effect as a glass of beetroot juice.
Athletes can take beet juice for its nitric oxide-boosting benefits. A study shows that raw beets may boost stamina during exercise by as much as 16 percent.
In another study, nine patients with heart failure who suffer from loss of muscle strength and reduced ability to exercise were observed to benefit from beet juice.
The patients were given 140 milliliters, which is about two-thirds of a cup of concentrated beet juice, followed by testing. The scientists observed an almost immediate increase in their patient’s muscle capacity by an average of 13 percent.
It is important to note that you should not use mouthwashes or chewing gum because they prevent the nitric oxide conversion from occurring. This occurs due to the nitrate converting to nitrite in your saliva by friendly bacteria. That nitrite then turns into nitric oxide in other places around the body.
Betaine in beets also supports the reduction of inflammation and protects against environmental stressors that can play a role in heart disease.
Beets Have Powerful Immune-Boosting and Anti-Cancer Properties
The phytonutrients responsible for giving beets their deep crimson color contain potent anti-cancer properties. Research has found that beetroot extract decreased multi-organ tumor formations in many animals when given in drinking water.
Beetroot extract is also being studied to see potential to treat breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Additionally, raw beets help boost immune function thanks to high fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese, while the betalain pigments and amino acids in beets enhance your body’s detoxification process.
Beets can also lower your risk of strokes thanks to high levels of B vitamin folate in them and are an exceptional food for pregnant women. Folate is necessary for many bodily processes, and absence of folate during pregnancy raises the risk of congenital disabilities. The blood-cleansing qualities of beets may also assist in alleviating morning sickness.
Why Ferment Your Beets?
Fermenting your beets increases bioavailability. And fermenting them will also provide you with beneficial bacteria and enzymes that result from the fermentation process.
Besides beet-infused sauerkraut, pickled beets and fermented beet juice, also known as beet kvass, is gaining a following in the West. Beet kvass holds a longstanding tradition in Ukraine, Russia, and other eastern European countries where it’s used therapeutically as a general health tonic. It’s also commonly added to sauces, soups, and vinaigrettes.
Beet kvass has been used to promote immune function, combat fatigue, cleanse the blood, chemical sensitivities, treat kidney stones, allergies, and digestive problems. Anecdotal reports that beet kvass may help the appearance of age spots, thicken hair and minimize graying of hair.
New animal research reinforces the gastrointestinal benefits of lacto-fermented beetroot juice, noting it improves gut microbiota and metabolic activity.
Beet kvass has detoxifying properties so avoid drinking too much when first starting out. If you overdrink it, it could result in an overload of released toxins, producing bloating, constipation and cold or flu symptoms.
The general advice is to start drinking 1 ounce per day, and gradually increasing the quantity to an 8-ounce glass per day. Since your body may be highly toxic, you will likely begin with a tablespoon and go from there.
Simple Beet Kvass Recipe
- 2 large raw organic beets. Cut them into 1-inch cubes. Do not grate them, as this will release too much sugar.
It is not required to peel the beets if they are organic, as the skin holds many bacteria that drive the fermentation. If using conventionally-grown beets (non-organic), peeling may be advisable to avoid pesticide residues.
- 3 tablespoons of sauerkraut juice or pickle juice
- Filtered water, distilled water, spring water or freshly pressed beet juice, or a combination of beet juice and pure water.
Avoid tap water if possible because you’ll find it contains chlorine and other metals and chemicals which hinders fermentation and may cause rotting. If you absolutely must use tap water, then boil it first and let it cool before using.
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of natural unrefined salts, such as sea salt, or Himalayan salt. It’s good to use a bit of salt as it prevents bad bacteria from forming. Too much salt can make the drink disagreeable.
Place the all the beets in a large-mouth mason jar, and fill the jar one-third of the way. Add pickle juice or sauerkraut, salt, and water/beet juice. Leave 2 inches of space separating the top of the liquid and the lid. Cover tightly and shake well to dissolve the salt.
Keep the fermented beets at room temperature for three to five days. In winter months, the fermentation process can take up to seven days because of the colder room temperatures. Keep the lid tightly closed, but remember to release pressure daily.
If scum, foam, or mold forms, just skim it off the top with a spoon. Try it a bit every day and when the kvass has developed a pleasing taste, place it in the refrigerator to hold the fermenting process. Fizzy bubbles rising to the top is a sign that it’s ready.
Other Suggestions And Recommendations
You can split the kvass from the beets by straining the liquid into a clean jar. Studies reveal that when refrigerated lacto-fermented beet kvass maintains its antioxidant powers for as long as 30 days, so that looks like the best place to store it.
The beets can be consumed after this process, or you can reuse them to start another batch of kvass.
Choose Organic or Heirloom Beets (And Eat the Greens Too)
It does not matter if you are juicing your beets, fermenting them or eating raw, buying organic is always the best option. As you know, many crops in the U.S. are genetically modified. And it’s no different when it comes to sugar beet crops. Table beets are not currently GMO, but they are frequently grown close to sugar beets, and cross-pollination is known to occur. So, choose organic beets to eat to avoid potential GE contamination.
Besides the beetroots, the beet greens offer plenty of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and antioxidants. They are an invaluable source of fiber and contain 17 percent of your daily requirements in just one cup.
The massive quantity of vitamin K in beet greens helps to fight aging, wards off osteoporosis, supports your DNA, works with calcium to boost bone strength, and could play a role in combating Alzheimer’s disease. What’s more, beet greens contain more iron than spinach and a higher nutritional value than the vegetable itself. You can use the beet greens in salads, sautéing, or juicing them.
Beets have a broad range of health benefits. If you have high blood pressure or experienced heart failure in the past, you may want to try raw beet juice or beet kvass and see if it helps you. If you notice changes in your blood pressure or stamina after drinking it, it may be a good fit.
If you are insulin resistant or have diabetes, then monitor how raw beet juice affects your overall health, and factor that into how often you consume it. Moderation is best in most cases.
Using beet kvass will be a far better option, as it eliminates the sugar in the fermentation process. By providing beneficial bacteria, the drink can also have a favorable impact on diabetes and a whole host of other health problems, particularly diseases rooted in gut dysfunction. Always tell your doctor about any changes in your diet and see if it is okay for you to give it a go and incorporate it into your life.