May 26th, 2009 by Janeen
In the last edition of my newsletter, I discussed juicing fruits and vegetables. I want to address this question that came up in a session with one of my clients. Can drinking beet juice, without any other vegetable added, cause the vocal cords to temporarily become paralyzed? I had never heard this before and was at first thinking is this really true? When I drink juice from beets I will add other vegetables to the mixture most of the time and have never experienced this effect before.
I did some research and sure enough it is possible. I found several websites (see references below) declaring that this is a possible effect of drinking straight beet juice. Now, apparently (and I read this also on a few sites), drinking organic beet juice reduces this effect on the vocal cords. In addition to this, I must add that I did see comments and I agree that we should be careful about any claims that drinking beet juice is harmful. As I will point out, below, there are also wonderful nutritional values to beets.
To minimize side effects, I suggest to combine beet juice with other vegetables, however, I think drinking beet juice straight up is OK, just do it in moderation. Beet juice alone is strong so you will probably not want to drink much. You can also dilute with water and, of course, use organic beets, if available.
Another side effect of beet juice is the juice will turn your urine and stool a reddish color. This will happen whether combined with other vegetables or alone, so do not be alarmed.
Both the roots and the greens are powerful cleansers and both can be juiced. The greens of beets are high in carotene and minerals, but also high in oxalic acid and should not be eaten in excess. The greens, along with juicing can be used in salads, sautéed or steamed. Beets are very good for you, as a blood tonic they are good for anemia, the heart, and circulation. They can also alleviate constipation and support liver function.
Some of the valuable vitamins and minerals in beets include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
When buying beets, it is best to buy them with the greens attached. However, because the roots store well, finding beets that are loose (without the greens) is also OK. What you do need to look for is beets that are firm and smooth. The beets, themselves, will store for several weeks in the refrigerator. The greens, however, will only last a few days.
Beets can be roasted, steamed, baked and used raw in salads, and, of course, juiced. When preparing beets, be sure to leave the tail, skin and about an inch of the stem attached. This helps to keep in the valuable juices. Leaving the skin on while cooking makes it much easier to peel. Remember that beets will turn anything they touch a shade of red, including your hands. You may want to wear plastic surgical gloves or some kind of protection.
Beets are one of my favorite foods and they will be available later in the season at the farmers markets, enjoy!
Have you experienced problems with beets or do you have a favorite way of preparing them? I’d love to hear from you, feel free to share your stories by commenting below.
Madison, Deborah, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Broadway Books, New York,1997, pp. 338
Wood, Rebecca, The Whole Foods encyclopedia, Penguin/Arkana, New York, 1999, pp. 33-34
Raw Beet Juice – A Great Cleanser of the Body! on Health-care.eu
Beet Root Juice - on AgriculturalProductsindia.com