Beet greens, also known as beetroot greens or simply beet leaves, are the leafy tops of beetroot plants. While beetroots are commonly consumed for their sweet, earthy flavor and nutritional benefits, their greens are often overlooked or discarded. However, beet greens are equally nutritious, containing high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Juicing beet greens is an easy and tasty way to incorporate these nutritional powerhouses into your diet.
In this article, we’ll explore the health benefits of beet greens, investigate whether it’s safe to juice them, and provide tips and recipe ideas for juicing beet leaves.
Nutritional Benefits of Beet Greens
Though the beetroot gets all the hype, beet greens are no nutritional slouch. One cup of raw beet greens contains (1):
|Vitamin A||148% DV|
|Vitamin C||51% DV|
|Vitamin K||548% DV|
Beet greens contain high levels of antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and glutathione. These compounds help combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body (2).
The greens are also an excellent source of vitamin K, which plays a vital role in bone health and blood clotting. Just one cup provides over five times your daily vitamin K needs (1)!
Additionally, beet greens provide important minerals like potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Potassium supports heart health and muscle function, while magnesium and manganese play key roles in enzyme reactions throughout the body (3).
Benefits of Juicing Beet Greens
Juicing beet greens offers several advantages over eating them raw or cooked:
– Increased nutrient absorption – Juicing breaks down plant cell walls, making the nutrients more bioavailable than when eaten whole (4). You’ll absorb more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from beet green juice than raw or cooked greens.
– Easier digestion – The fiber is removed during juicing, so drinking beet green juice is gentler on digestion than consuming whole greens, especially for those with sensitive stomachs.
– Veggie intake boost – Juicing makes it easy to consume more vegetables. You’d have to eat a lot of beet greens to equate to one juice.
– Great taste – Juicing balances out the earthy, bitter taste of beet leaves, making them more palatable. Adding sweet fruits like apples or berries makes beet green juice delicious.
Overall, juicing is an efficient and tasty way to maximize the nutrition you get from beet greens.
Is It Safe to Juice Beet Greens?
Most leafy greens are safe to juice and consume in moderation as part of a healthy diet. However, beets leaves do contain oxalates, which can contribute to kidney stone development in those prone to the condition (5).
People who frequently form kidney stones should limit high-oxalate foods, including beet greens. If you don’t have a history of kidney problems, juicing beet greens should be safe in normal amounts as part of a varied diet.
As with any vegetable juice, moderation is key – stick to 4-8 ounces per day. Very high intakes of certain nutrients or compounds in juice form could potentially cause issues. But normal amounts of beet green juice are unlikely to cause problems in otherwise healthy individuals.
Tips for Juicing Beet Greens
Follow these tips to make delicious, nutritious beet green juices at home:
– Choose young, tender greens – Older beet leaves can be tough and fibrous. Select young leaves for the best texture and flavor.
– Wash thoroughly – Give the beet greens a good rinse before juicing to remove dirt and debris.
– Combine with sweet fruits – Balance out the earthy taste by blending beet greens with apples, grapes, oranges, or berries.
– Add ginger – Fresh ginger provides a spicy kick and aids digestion. It complements beet juice wonderfully.
– Drink immediately – To avoid nutrient degradation, drink beet green juice right after making it.
– Use organic produce when possible – Going organic reduces your pesticide exposure from beet greens.
– Rotate with other greens – For diversity of nutrients and flavors, alternate beet greens with kale, spinach, chard, or other leafy greens.
Beet Green Juice Recipes
These enticing combinations make the most of fresh beet greens:
Beet Apple Juice
– 2 cups beet greens
– 2 apples, cored
– 1 inch fresh ginger
– 1 lemon, peeled
– 4 ice cubes
Juice all ingredients and pour over ice. The apples provide natural sweetness that balances the earthy beet greens.
Green Grape Refreshment
– 1 cup beet greens
– 1 cup green grapes
– 1 cucumber
– 1/2 lemon, peeled
– 1 inch fresh turmeric root or 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
– Ice cubes
Mix all ingredients in your juicer. Pour over ice and enjoy this anti-inflammatory, hydrating juice.
Tropical Beet Juice
– 1 cup beet greens
– 1 pink grapefruit, peeled
– 1 cup pineapple chunks
– 1-inch knob of ginger
– 1/2 lime, peeled
– Cold water or ice cubes
Juice all the ingredients except water/ice. Dilute with cold water or pour over ice. The flavors of citrus and tropical fruit tame the earthy beets.
The Bottom Line
Don’t throw away those beet greens – juice them instead! Beet leaves are highly nutritious, and juicing is an easy way to take advantage of their many health benefits. Combining beet greens with sweet fruits helps offset their bitterness and makes for a delicious, vibrantly colored juice packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Drinking 4-8 ounces per day of beet green juice can be safely enjoyed as part of a healthy diet by most people.