Drinking beet juice first thing in the morning has become a popular health trend. Some proponents claim that starting your day with a glass of beet juice can provide a variety of health benefits. But is it safe and effective to drink beet juice first thing in the morning? Let’s take a closer look at the potential benefits and downsides.
Potential Benefits of Drinking Beet Juice in the Morning
Here are some of the touted benefits of drinking beet juice first thing in the morning:
- May boost energy and stamina: Beets are rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow, which some studies suggest can enhance physical performance and stamina.
- Contains beneficial nutrients: Beets provide nutrients like folate, manganese, potassium, vitamin C and iron. Getting these nutrients first thing can help jumpstart your day.
- May support heart health: The nitric oxide formed from beet nitrates may help lower blood pressure. One study found drinking beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure.
- May benefit digestion: Some evidence suggests beet juice can help improve digestion and promote regularity thanks to its fiber content.
- Supports detoxification: The betalains that give beets their bright color are powerful antioxidants that may help the liver detoxify and remove waste from the blood.
Potential Downsides of Drinking Beet Juice in the Morning
Despite the potential benefits, there are some possible downsides to consider with drinking beet juice early in the day:
- Blood sugar spikes: Although beets have a low glycemic index, beet juice contains concentrated sugars. For some people, this may spike blood sugar when consumed first thing in the morning.
- May interact with medications: The nitric oxide from beet juice can cause some medication interactions, especially with blood pressure medications.
- GI side effects: Some people experience gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea or stomach cramps from drinking beet juice.
- Kidney stone risk: The oxalates in beet juice may increase risk of kidney stones in susceptible individuals.
- Beeturia: Beeturia is reddening of the urine caused by beets. Although harmless, it can be alarming if you aren’t expecting it.
Who May Want to Avoid Drinking Beet Juice in the Morning
While beet juice is generally healthy in moderation, certain individuals may want to avoid drinking it first thing in the morning due to health concerns:
- Pregnant women: High nitrate intake may be harmful during pregnancy, so pregnant women should exercise caution with beet juice.
- People with anemia: The oxalates in beets may inhibit iron absorption, worsening existing iron deficiency anemia.
- Individuals with gout: Beets are high in purines, which can increase uric acid. Those with gout may want to limit intake.
- People prone to kidney stones: The oxalate content of beets may increase kidney stone risk.
- Those taking certain medications: Beet juice can interact with blood thinners, blood pressure meds, Viagra and more.
How Much Beet Juice Should You Drink In the Morning?
Moderation is key if you want to incorporate beet juice into your morning routine. Here are some guidelines for how much to drink:
- Start with 4-6 ounces (120-180 ml) maximum per day. Assess tolerance before increasing amount.
- For athletic performance benefits, studies typically use about 2/3 cup (150ml) beet juice.
- Never exceed 12 ounces (360ml) per day and avoid “mega-dosing.” Excess nitrates can be harmful.
- Dilute with water or other juices like apple juice to decrease sugar and oxalate content if drinking more than 4-6 ounces.
- Avoid other high-nitrate foods on days you drink beet juice to prevent nitrate overdose.
It’s also best to start slowly. Begin with a small amount (2-4 oz) 2-3 times per week and work up from there if you tolerate it well.
The Best Time to Have Beet Juice
Here is some guidance on when it may be optimal to drink beet juice:
- Have it at least 30-60 minutes before exercising to maximize performance benefits.
- Drink on an empty stomach before eating to avoid interference with iron and medication absorption.
- Wait at least 3 hours after taking medications before consuming to minimize drug interactions.
- Avoid in the evenings close to bedtime, as beets can provide energizing effects.
How to Make Beet Juice
Here is a simple recipe for making beet juice at home:
- 2 medium beets, peeled and chopped
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 inch ginger, peeled
- 2 cups water
- Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth.
- Strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve into a glass. This removes any pulp or foam if desired.
- Drink immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Consider diluting with water or adding lemon juice to taste. You can also add carrots, celery or other juices to modify the flavor.
The Bottom Line
Drinking beet juice first thing in the morning may provide benefits like boosting energy, supporting heart health and improving digestion. However, it may not be well tolerated by everyone. Excessive intake can also cause side effects in some individuals.
The best approach is to start with a small amount (4-6 oz) a couple times per week and assess your response. Increase the amount gradually if you find you tolerate beet juice well. But avoid exceeding 12 ounces per day.
Beet juice is generally safe when consumed in moderation by healthy individuals. But check with your healthcare provider first if you have any concerns.