So Should We Drink Beet Juice or Not?

So Should We Drink Beet Juice or Not?

September 13, 2019 14 By Ewald Bahringer


“So Should We Drink Beet Juice or Not?” Why don’t those carcinogenic
nitrosamines form in our stomach from all the nitrites
coming off our tongue? Because our body’s not stupid,
and actively secretes vitamin C into our stomach juices to prevent
that kind of thing from happening. That makes sense, right? I mean, why would our body go out
of its way to evolve this elaborate double pass mechanism to produce
lots of nitrite, if it was harmful? As one group of researchers noted: “If nitrite were, indeed,
[itself] a carcinogen, we would be advised to
avoid swallowing because saliva contains so much.” So the way we are able to safely
produce nitric oxide from nitrites is by smuggling it into our bodies
in safe nitrate plant form. Plants come prepackaged with just what
the body needs to keep their nitrates from becoming carcinogenic. The bottom line is that whopping
doses of nitrates, from vegetables, are likely to improve athletic
performance and blood pressure without increasing cancer risk,
as long as it’s done in the context of a healthy, plant-based diet. As long as there are fat-free
phytonutrients physically in our stomach for three or four hours
after we nitrate load, the nitrites produced will
zip through our system, and feed our muscles and
vessels with nitric oxide. And it doesn’t take much—
like 20mg of vitamin C is all you need in your stomach
to block nitrosamine production. That’s like two strawberries, a little stalk
of broccoli, a slice of bell pepper. Our bodies may have evolved getting
about 600mg of vitamin C a day! If you’re out cycling, green tea would
probably be the most convenient. There isn’t any vitamin C in beet juice,
though, so just sipping beet juice all day is probably not the best route— though there might be
other phytonutrients in it that will serve the purpose. That’s something
we still don’t know. But a big arugula salad has as
much nitrate as a cup of beet juice, and in addition, the requisite
dose of vitamin C. Whole foods are always preferred, but if you do decide to
juice your own beets, you should add some
greens or something, so throughout the day you can
maximize nitric oxide production while minimizing any risk.