5 surprising health benefits of beet juice, the new superfood

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Sep 29, 2015 06:00 AM EDT

Beetroot has gained recognition for its massive nutritional value, as it is packed with folic acid, fiber, manganese, potassium and a range of vitamins, BBC reports. It has long been used for medicinal purposes, treating liver disorders and generally maintaining a healthy intestinal system. However, there are more health benefits to the beet root, as researchers have now found.

1. It's good for your muscles. According to NHS, a 2014 study revealed that cyclists who consumed beetroot juice had a modest yet significant increase in terms of time trial scores as they cycled in a chamber designed to mimic the effects of relatively high altitude. Results showed that there was an average of 16-second improvement among those who consumed the juice, showing that beetroot juice contributes to muscle performance.

2. It's good for your blood sugar levels. Beets are home to antioxidants called alpha-lipoic acid, which helps lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in diabetics, Medical News Today reports.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, physician, author, and founder and director of Mercola.com, wrote in the Huffington Post, "Clinically, alpha lipoic acid seems to be a useful supplement in treating hepatitis C. It can also be used for painful nerve conditions in diabetes, and may help slow down the aging process itself through its reduction in free radicals."

3. It's good for your brain. In 2010, Dr. Daniel Kim-Shapiro, director of Wake Forest’s Translational Science Center, and his team conducted a study that successfully showed how beet juice can help increase blood flow to the brain in older adults.

"There have been several very high-profile studies showing that drinking beet juice can lower blood pressure, but we wanted to show that drinking beet juice also increases perfusion, or blood flow, to the brain," said Kim-Shapiro. "There are areas in the brain that become poorly perfused as you age, and that’s believed to be associated with dementia and poor cognition."

4. It's good for your blood pressure. Medical News Today reports that according to a study conducted in 2008 and published in Hypertension journal, ingesting 500 ml of beetroot juice can help significantly lower blood pressure in healthy individuals. Researchers attributed this to the high levels of nitrate in beet juice, which is known as an effective way to treat cardiovascular diseases and other blood pressure problems.

5. It's great for beating fatigue. Men's Health reports that according to research from the University of Exeter, beet juice helps boost exercise endurance by 16 percent, making you perform better. Men are also encouraged to drink beet juice, as it increases sex drive.

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