The Superpowers Of Beetroot
The many and varied health benefits of beetroot and its juice......
- Cleanses kidneys, helping with UTIs etc.
- Improves gut dysfunction (bloating, gas, constipation etc) especially in the form of Beet Kvass (more on this below...)
- Boosts immune function.
- Reduces inflammation
- Lowers blood pressure as beets help relax and dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow. Studies show that blood pressure can drop by 4-5 points within hours of consuming raw beetroot/juice.
- Can boost stamina during exercise. Studies with professional athletes have shown that stamina can be increased by as much as 16%.
- Improves muscle capacity in those with heart problems (e.g. angina; congestive heart failure) by 13%.
- Beetroot extract is being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.
- May lower the risk of stroke due to high Vitamin B folate.
- Beneficial to pregnant women and their babies as lack of folate during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects.
- Fermented beets may alleviate 'morning' sickness in pregnancy.
The health benefits of BEET KVASS (fermented beetroot):
- Beetroot and beetroot juice are high in sugar, which is why they make a pleasant addition to any juice or smoothie. Because of this, you may think twice about regular use of them in your diet. *
However, if the beets are fermented, they become one of the healthiest vegetables, as most of the sugar is consumed by the beneficial bacteria during the fermentation process, leaving their other health-giving ingredients intact.
Fermented foods are full of 'good' bacteria - probiotics. Hundreds of studies show that by balancing the 'good' and 'bad' bacteria in the gut we can vastly improve our overall health, on every level - physically, mentally and emotionally.
The gut is known as the Second Brain ('gut instinct', 'butterflies in the stomach', 'a bad taste in the mouth', 'swallowing disappointment/defeat', 'getting our arse into gear' and 'scared shitless' are all well-known terms), and harmonising our gut flora keeps us on an even keel mentally and emotionally.
On a physical level, over 80% of our immune cells live in the gut, so it makes sense that to boost immunity and keep illness at bay, we must work to improve gut health.
Fermented beetroot, known as Beet Kvass, has long been used in Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern European countries, where it is taken as a general health tonic, and often added to soups, sauces and food dressings. Traditionally Beet Kvass is used to:
- Boost immune function
- Cleanse the blood
- Combat fatigue
- Treat kidney stones
- Treat chemical sensitivities
- Treat allergies
- Treat digestive problems
- PLUS, anecdotally it is claimed to reduce the appearance of age spots, thicken the hair and minimise the greying of hair!
How to make Beet Kvass:
- 2 large, raw, organic beets, cut into 1" cubes. Don't grate them as too much of their sugar will be released and that is needed for the fermentation process. (Don't peel if organic - simply wash them. The skin contains many of the bacteria that create the fermentation. If not organic, then peeling is advisable to avoid consuming any pesticide residue.)
- 3 tablespoons of sauerkraut juice or pickle juice.
- Water, OR freshly-squeezed beetroot juice OR a combination of beet juice/pure water. (NB re water: use filtered, spring or distilled water rather than tap water as this is tainted by chemicals that will prevent fermentation and cause the beets to rot instead. If you must use tap water, boil it first and allow it to cool before using it.)
- Optional: half a teaspoon of natural, unrefined salt, eg sea salt or pink Himalayan salt.
Salt helps prevent the formation of 'bad' bacteria, but too much makes the drink unpalatable
- Place the beet cubes into a clean large-mouthed mason jar, filling it about a third full.
- Add the sauerkraut or pickle juice, salt (if using) and the water/beet juice, leaving a 2" gap between the top of the liquid and the lid.
- Cover tightly and shake well to dissolve the salt.
- Keep at room temperature for 3-5 days. In winter the fermentation process may take up to 7 days due to cooler room temperatures. NB - bubbles rising to the top is a sign it is ready.
- Keep the lid tightly closed BUT release the pressure daily.
- If froth, scum or mould develops, simply skim it off with a CLEAN spoon, and discard.
- Test the taste daily. Once it has a pleasant taste, refrigerate to stop the fermentation process. Don't re-dip the same spoon into the liquid once tasted, as bacteria from your mouth will transfer to the liquid.
- The beets can be removed from the Kvass by straining the liquid into another clean jar.
- The liquid retains its health-giving antioxidant powers for up to 30 days.
- Eat the beetroot too, e.g.: in soup OR reuse them to start a new batch of Kvass.
- Other flavours may be added to the liquid, e.g. raisins, strawberries, freshly-squeezed orange juice, apple, carrot, lavender, fresh or dried mint leaves, cinnamon or ginger.
How to take:
As the Beet Kvass has detoxifying properties, it is advised that not too much should be consumed at once when you start out: an overload of released toxins could be the result, producing bloating, constipation and/or cold/'flu symptoms.
The recommended initial dose is 1oz (28g) per day, gradually increasing to an 8oz (227g) glass per day. As a rule of thumb, the more toxic you are (i.e. with many health issues; repeated low-grade infections such as colds etc) the less you should initially take - maybe starting with just a tablespoonful.
If you are DIABETIC or INSULIN RESISTANT, using Beet Kvass is a better option than beetroot alone, as much of their sugar is used up in the fermentation process.
As you see, a whole host of health problems can be helped by adding the beneficial bacteria in Beet Kvass to the diet, particularly if those ailments are grounded in gut dysfunction.
The gut is probably the most under-rated organ in the body, but a happy, healthy gut equals happy, healthy body, mind and emotions.