By E.L. David
Summary: A report on the nutritional and therapeutic value of beetroot and beetroot juice. The extraordinary array of nutrients in the beet makes it the most nutritious root vegetable, David says, and its value may increase even more when juiced and lacto-fermented. From Let’s Live magazine, 1962. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.[The following is a transcription of the original Archives document. To view or download the original document, click here.]
The Red Beetroot Juice
Nature offers us, in an inexhaustible richness, its healing powers from plants. Herbal medicine is, as we all know, the achievement of medical antiquity, when its full significance was first realized.
In our daily foods, vegetable plants offer man substances of considerable prophylactic and therapeutic values. The range of our native vegetable plants is so extensive that by varying them sensibly we can supply the body with minerals, fats, carbohydrates, and protein substances.
Among root vegetables containing the most valuable substances, the red beetroot comes first.
Recent literature identifies the color substance in beetroot as a “flavon,” [specifically] an anthocyanin, from which it was concluded that [the substance] is related to the lactoflavin (a deep yellow substance) in vitamin B2. It was also observed that the color of beetroot juice changes. Some roots are more blood red or more deep violet than others. The mauve color of the juice changes into red. The [color of the] juice in beetroot forms by oxidation in the absence of ascorbic acid; when the juice is dropped on white blotting paper, yellow stains appear around the spot. This coloring matter is so powerful that a few drops in a quart of water tint the water considerably.
It has been determined that beetroots are rich in kalium [potassium], phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, iodine, iron, and copper and that they also contain traces of the rare [elements] rubidium and cesium. In addition to carbohydrates, protein, and fat, the vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, P, and niacin are present in this remarkable root.
Studies by Dr. A. Ferenczi (Nobel Prize winner) concerning the antitumor effect of beetroot juice were published in 1955, 1959, and 1961. He explains the effect on cancer patients of the red-colored substance, identical to the chemical structure of flavones [sic]. This hypothesis appears to be correct, but it is also probable that the substance’s effect, like that of carrot juice (for stomach hyperacidity, gastric ulcer, and other stomach disorders), is due to a complex of chemical compounds, and that the red color substance in beetroot plays a specific and important part in the framework of biological linkage.
The antitumor effect of the beetroot juice may be explained by its high content of iron, which acts as a regenerator and activator on red blood corpuscles. By their regeneration these corpuscles supply cancer cells with more oxygen, thus improving the impaired cell respiration and also activating respiratory ferments (Warburg theory). As a result of these happenings, hypertrophies break down and the tissues take up their natural structures—if the disease is not too far advanced.
If the red beetroot juice has a blood-building, healing effect, then it is most likely a direct therapy against leukemia, the dread blood disease also known as blood cancer. In blood-building, the [number of] red corpuscles is increased. In leukemia the erythrocytes are decomposing, so that the white blood cells increase, and the body gradually dies as the result of the pathologically decreased amount of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin caused by the disappearance of the red corpuscles.[Photo of beets, with caption:] Has medicinal value. In ancient folklore, blood-building and healing powers were attributed to the beet (called “beetroot” by the British). (See original for image.)
At the Eighth International Congress for Prophylactic Medicine, September 6, 1961, Dr. S. Smith reported that the red beetroot juice proved to be an important therapy against X-ray and radioactive damage. This could be an epoch-making announcement to humanity, which has reason to be worried and frightened.
Medical science has not examined the healing properties of beetroot juice against leukemia, but there are cases known in folk medicine in which the body succeeded in defeating this incurable disease. In the United States, a patient suffering from leukemia requested the hospital to let her die at home. After three months she returned for a checkup, and the doctors found to their amazement that she was cured. She had been eating two pounds of beetroot every day since leaving the hospital.
Beetroot juice strengthens body resistance via the blood and is an excellent remedy against anemia, especially in children. In acute fever illnesses and in the primary phase of influenza, the juice is a safe and effective medicine. Owing to its high content of kalium and calcium, the juice has the ability, when mixed with a little honey, to sluice uric acid from the system. Its diuretic effect has also proved beneficial for rheumatic and arthritic ailments as well as for heart and circulatory disorders. It is also a blood pressure regulator, being very effective for increasing low blood pressure. Its positive influence on the nerves and the brain is due to its high content of amino acids, [specifically] asparagine, betaine, and glutamine.
The juice of fresh beetroot may cause slight belching, and it has a rather musty, beet-like taste that can be repulsive to patients who have to drink a tumblerful or more daily. These disadvantages can be counteracted easily by offering the patients lactic acid fermented beetroot juice. Lactic acid fermentation retains all the biological qualities and effectiveness of the raw juice while increasing its therapeutic value and improving its taste to make a delicious beverage. The fermented juice has the color of Burgundy wine and is reminiscent of elderberry. The beetroot must, fermented by the Kuhl method, contains lactic acid bacteria.
Two extremely important components meet in this improved juice, acting in the same direction. According to Dr. Ferenczi, the raw juice has a strong antitumor effect. As a fermented juice, it fits into Dr. Johannes Kuhl’s therapy and as such can be considered one of the most important blood-building vegetable juices.
Beetroot can be bought all the year around, but in Europe spring is the best time to use young beetroots. It is very simple to preserve the beetroot, either as a whole or as a juice, via lactic acid fermentation, as described by me in the September 1961 issue of Let’s Live.
By E.L. David, Biological Researcher, London, England. Reprinted from Let’s Live magazine, March 1962, by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.