Beets are the most wondrous food, and according to research, beet juice has the power to boost immunity, improve blood flow, and may even halt cancer cells as they form. Beets are full of nitrates that help you create nitric oxide, which improves sports performance and slows the aging process.

The specific antioxidant in beets, called betalain, has been shown to half cancer cells in the lab and appears to help your body rid itself of the toxins that can cause disease now and down the road, according to one breakthrough study, "Red Beetroot and Betalains as Cancer Chemopreventative Agents."

This research found that betalains are "anti-mutagenic" and that they "have strong free radical scavenging, and antioxidant activities." Meaning beets work to help scrub your body of the kinds of toxins that are better off not interacting with your cells. Beet juice is also known to: Improve muscle power, slow dementia, help you maintain a healthy weight, and possibly even prevent cancer, according to scientific research.

If you had to choose just one juice to drink more of, daily for the rest of your life, for anti-inflammation and disease-fighting properties, it should be beet juice, researchers say. Beets are good sources of folate, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. Beets contain high levels of antioxidants that studies show may help reduce the risk of certain cancers. They get their deep red hue from betacyanin, a plant pigment that some preliminary research indicates might help defend cells against harmful carcinogens. Also, high levels of a unique fiber found in beets may be linked to a lower colon cancer risk.

Beets Help Athletes by Boosting Their Endurance, According to a Recent Study

Triathletes who drank beet juice mixed with a little apple juice before working out had better endurance and a lower resting blood pressure than those who performed without the juice mix, according to a recent study out of England. Nitrates that naturally occur in beets were what helped open up the blood vessels and allow the athletes' hearts to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to their muscles more efficiently, making it easier to maintain a high level of workload for longer. So if performance is the goal, for your long runs or rides, stock up on beets.

But cooking them kills some of the nitrates, so you are better off juicing the beetroot and drinking the super bright red liquid., which ensures you're getting the nutrients and not losing the benefits in the cooking process.

This root is now in season, being sold in produce aisles and farm stands alike, so all you have to do is cut off the leaves (although we suspect these will be the new kale -- something no longer to toss but to add to your blender or smoothie or soup for their nutritious compounds). Until then though, watch this video on all the ways beets will save your life, improve your body on a cellular level, and generally leave you better than it found you.

Not sure what to drink tonight? If you want to combine your healthiest juice with a favorite cocktail just add beet juice to your vodka and soda for a gorgeous, blood-red mix that will have everyone asking:" What are you drinking? Your answer? Life's natural fountain of youth.

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