Beet tops, also known as beet greens, refer to the leafy green tops of beetroot. They are often removed before beets are sold and discarded as waste. However, beet tops are highly nutritious and can be consumed like other leafy greens. Juicing beet tops is an easy way to gain more nutrition from this under-utilized part of the beet plant.
In this article, we will examine the key nutrients found in beet tops and the health benefits of juicing them. We will also provide tips on how to include beet top juice in your diet.
Nutrients in Beet Tops
Beet tops are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here is an overview of some of the key nutrients found in beet greens:
|Vitamin||% DV in 1 cup|
Beet tops are especially high in immune-boosting vitamin A and C as well as bone-building vitamin K. Just one cup provides over 5 times the recommended daily intake for vitamin K.
|Mineral||% DV in 1 cup|
Manganese supports bone health and metabolism. Potassium helps control blood pressure. Magnesium aids muscle and nerve function.
Beet tops contain antioxidants including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, quercetin, and betalains. These compounds protect cells from damage and inflammation.
Benefits of Juicing Beet Tops
Drinking beet top juice provides a concentrated dose of nutrients that offer the following benefits:
1. Boosts immunity
With plenty of vitamin A, C, and antioxidants, beet top juice can give your immune system a lift. These nutrients help neutralize free radicals and prevent damage to cells.
2. Supports bone health
The vitamin K found in beet tops promotes healthy bones by improving calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium. The manganese in beet greens also contributes to bone formation.
3. Aids digestion
Beet tops are a source of fiber, which encourages regular bowel movements and healthy digestion. The nutrients in beet greens juice can also help heal and soothe your digestive tract.
4. Provides antioxidant protection
The diverse mix of antioxidants in beet tops helps prevent oxidative stress throughout the body. Oxidative stress has been linked to many chronic diseases.
5. May lower blood pressure
Beet tops contain nitrates that can relax and dilate blood vessels, which in turn may lower blood pressure. The potassium in beet greens also supports healthy blood pressure.
6. Supports eye health
Lutein and zeaxanthin found in beet tops help prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. These antioxidants protect the eyes from blue light and free radical damage.
7. Boosts energy
In addition to vitamins and minerals, beet tops provide easily accessible iron and magnesium, which help prevent fatigue and energize the body and mind.
8. May have anti-cancer effects
Certain antioxidants found exclusively in beet tops exhibit anti-carcinogenic activities. More research is needed, but beet greens show promise for cancer prevention.
How to Juice Beet Tops
Here are some tips for using beet tops for juicing:
– When preparing beets, cut the tops off but reserve them for juicing. Rinse thoroughly.
– Chop beet tops and feed them slowly into your juicer, alternating with other vegetables like carrots or apples.
– Drink beet green juice right away to get the most nutrients. Freeze for later if needed.
– Pair beet tops with sweet fruits like apples or oranges to offset the earthy taste. Ginger also complements the flavor.
– Mix beet green juice with other vegetable juices. Good combinations include carrot, celery, spinach, or parsley.
– If juicing just beet tops, dilute the juice with water or coconut water to reduce potency.
– Start with a small amount of beet tops, like 1-2 cups, until your body adjusts. Too much could cause temporary red stools.
Potential Side Effects
Beet tops and beet greens juice are considered very safe, with few side effects. However, some people should exercise caution with beet top juice:
– Those with kidney disorders should avoid overconsumption of beet tops, which are high in potassium and may exacerbate kidney issues.
– The oxalate content may worsen kidney stones in those prone to the condition.
– Beet greens juice can temporarily cause red stool or urine coloration. This is harmless, but good to know.
– Due to the high nitrate content of beet tops, those taking certain medications like blood thinners should consult a doctor before consuming large amounts.
– Excessive intake may cause upset stomach or diarrhea in sensitive individuals. Start with small amounts.
As with any new food, introduce beet top juice gradually and monitor for any adverse effects. Discuss beet greens juice with your healthcare provider if you have any specific health conditions or concerns.
Don’t throw away the vitamin-packed tops of your beets! Juicing beet greens harnesses the many nutrients and health benefits these leaves have to offer. With a nutritious composition of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants, beet top juice boosts immunity, aids digestion, promotes bone health, and more. Add some of these bright green tops into your juicing routines. Just be sure to introduce them gradually and pair with sweeter ingredients to enhance the earthy, mineral-like flavor. With a little creativity, you can reap the nutritional rewards of beet greens juice.