Beetroot juice is getting major recognition in the medical world as being a significant treatment for hypertension. Along with reducing high blood pressure, consuming small amounts of raw beets mixed with other vegetable or fruit juices can cleanse the body, detoxifying the blood, liver, kidneys and bladder. Consuming small amounts is the key phrase. It is very important to dilute the raw juice, as some people may experience major, although uncommon, side effects.
Beets are a very powerful vegetable and contain oxalic acid, a chemical substance which, when combined with magnesium and calcium in the body, produces a salt byproduct that is eventually excreted through the urine. The oxalic acid, along with the dark red and purple betalin pigments found in beets, cause both urine and stool to turn red. Known as beeturia, this colouring is the most common side effect and is completely harmless and usually only seen in people who drink too much beetroot juice or have just started drinking it.
Paralysis of the Vocal Chords
Drinking the juice pure can cause constrictions in the throat and difficulty breathing. This is because the nitric acid produced from the beetroot juice causes the blood vessels to dilate. The widening of blood vessels increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure, but hypotension can cause dizziness and shortness of breath. Consuming large amounts of beetroot juice can cause temporary paralysis of the vocal chords. It is recommended that the juice be diluted at least four times with milder juices to prevent this.
Allergies to Beetroot
While hypotension causes shortness of breath, temporary paralysis of the vocal chords may also be an allergic reaction to beetroot juice. Other allergic reactions include breaking out in hives or a rash, fever, chills, itchiness or a stinging sensation. If any of these symptoms occur, you should stop drinking beetroot juice and consult a doctor immediately.
Although the juice is said to be beneficial in the treatment of gallstones and kidney stones, sometimes it may increase the severity of kidney stones. The oxalic acid found in beetroots and many other fruits and vegetables is corrosive to tissue. When ingested, kidney damage is a possibility as the oxalic acid removes calcium from the blood. This calcium oxalate obstructs the kidney tubules. People who have kidney stones or have been operated on for kidney stones should speak to a physician before consuming beetroot juice.