The beetroot (Beta vulgaris), is a vegetable which, in essence is a root, part of the botanical family of Chenopodiaceae plants (1, 8). This root vegetable is widely recognised because of its particular nutrient and polyphenol content, which has been shown to confer health benefits which may be unique to its very own composition.
Beetroot juice nutritional content
Beetroot juice contains about 2.73 g of total dietary fibre per 1 cup (240 ml), which accounts for 9% of your daily fibre ingestion (2). This makes it a high fibre juice to drink and a good option to prevent constipation and reduce the absorption of calories derived from other foods (3). Consumption of dietary fibre has been linked to a marked reduction in risk of colorectal cancer, improved gastrointestinal transit, reduced risk of type II diabetes mellitus and may help you lose weight (3). Starting the day with a beetroot juice might be a good option to help you feel full and also obtain all of the aforementioned benefits (3).
Beetroot juice and potassium
Beetroot juice contains about 317 mg of potassium per 1 cup, which accounts for almost 7 % of your daily needs of this nutrient (2). Potassium is an essential compound necessary for the movement of your muscles, heart, neuronal synapsis and helps you reduce your sodium blood levels (4). High potassium consumption has been linked with reduced risk of hypertension due to its effects on vasodilation and kidney sodium excretion (4). Drinking beetroot juice might be a good way to get more potassium into your diet and establish healthful habits.
Beetroot juice and folate
Dietary folate (also known as vitamin B9), is needed for the correct development of the foetus during pregnancy because it participates in the synthesis of nucleic acids (needed for the synthesis of DNA) (5). In all human beings, folate is needed for the aforementioned physiological processes and also for the synthesis of other important cells, such as red blood cells (5). Lack in the consumption of this vitamin may result in birth defects which may be extremely detrimental for the health of a new-born baby (5).
One cup of beetroot juice contains about 64.5 μg of folate; this accounts for about 16 % of your daily nutritional needs of folate (1, 5). Given the importance of this vitamin, it is of particular importance to reach its daily requirements. In some cases, it may be particularly difficult to achieve its recommended consumption (400 μg/day approximately), but this is only the case in diets which lack consumption of fruits and vegetables, thus consumption of beetroot juice may be particularly helpful to achieve this goal (5).
Iron content in beetroot juice and its benefits for exercise
Iron is a chemical element which in the human body exerts certain nutritional processes and is considered to be a mineral necessary for the correct functioning of all living beings (6). In the human body, iron is present in haemoglobin, a protein which binds to oxygen in red blood cells and further carry it to all cells of the organism (6). It is of no surprise that iron is of particular importance in exercise, since ALL muscular cells need oxygen to maintain its metabolism; exercise performance depends on several different factors but oxygen is of particular importance in aerobic exercise (e.g., running, cardiovascular, cycling, races); these types of exercises cannot go any further or function at all if oxygen is not present in the bloodstream (6).
Iron is present in beetroot juice in considerable amounts; one cup of beetroot juice contains up to 1.41 mg of iron which accounts for about 17 % of daily iron needs (6). It is also important to know that the iron present in beetroot juice is in a particular chemical form which can be less absorbable than other foods high in iron, however this can always be enhanced by adding vitamin C to beetroot juice preparation (i.e., adding lemon or orange juice is beneficial for improving iron absorption (6,7).
Keeping your iron blood levels is important in order to increase and improve your exercise performance, which leads us to the next section which focuses on beetroot juice benefits for athletic performance.
Beetroot juice benefits for exercise.
Different mechanisms have been studied and elucidated for the explanation and/or metabolic pathways involved in improving exercise performance (8).
In the case of beetroot juice, it has been of particular interest, its high content of nitric oxide (NO3) (8). Nitric oxide is a chemical compound which allows for vasodilation in different blood vessels, which allows for a faster blood flow to occur and has a positive impact on exercise performance (9). Exercises particularly benefited from this effect, are the most intense or demanding because of their high oxidative metabolism (9).
It is important to understand the principal mechanisms and metabolic processes which are involved in creating a better environment for the human body. Beetroot juice, possesses several molecules of interest which may present relevant mechanisms for this beneficial effect. Beetroot juice may aid in digestive health because of its high fibre content, improving overall digestion, reducing the risk of colon cancer, and help you lose weight, B Vitamin complex and certain minerals. Beetroot juice which has shown to be of particular importance for exercise due to its high iron content and its unusually high concentrations of nitric oxide (NO3).
Showing all polyphenols found in Red beetroot, raw – Phenol-Explorer [Internet]. Phenol-explorer.eu. [cited 23 May 2021]. Available from: http://phenol-explorer.eu/contents/food/499
Beet juice I I Search Results [Internet]. FoodData Central. 2020 [cited 22 May 2021]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103215/nutrients
Ross C. Modern nutrition in health and disease. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014, In: Chapter 3: Dietary Fiber: 60-63.
Office of Dietary Supplements – Potassium [Internet]. Ods.od.nih.gov. [cited 23 May 2021]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements – Folate [Internet]. Ods.od.nih.gov. [cited 23 May 2021]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements – Iron [Internet]. Ods.od.nih.gov. [cited 23 May 2021]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
Carpenter C, Mahoney A. Contributions of heme and nonheme iron to human nutrition. 2021.
Bahadoran Z, Mirmiran P, Kabir A, Azizi F, Ghasemi A. The Nitrate-Independent Blood Pressure–Lowering Effect of Beetroot Juice: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal. 2017;8(6):830-838.
Domínguez R, Maté-Muñoz J, Cuenca E, García-Fernández P, Mata-Ordoñez F, Lozano-Estevan M et al. Effects of beetroot juice supplementation on intermittent high-intensity exercise efforts. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2018;15(1).