Fermented beet benefits (Kvass) are greater than those from raw beets alone. They become more bioavailable, in addition to the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that result from the fermentation process.
Nitric oxide helps relax and dilate blood vessels, which improve blood flow, according to Berkeley Wellness.
Also, beet Juice may increase exercise endurance by up to 16% and has been shown to improve muscle capacity by 13% in people with heart failure
Generally, it is recommended to consume beets and beet juice in limited quantities due to its high sugar content.
However, when beets are fermented, they become part of the healthiest superfoods that exist.
During the fermentation process, most of the sugar is eaten by beneficial bacteria, which leaves the other healthy ingredients intact.
Also, fermented foods are loaded with probiotics (good bacteria). That’s why fermented beet (kvass) benefits go well beyond probiotics.
Several studies have shown how an ideal balance and diversity of healthy gut bacteria is critical to physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Fermented beet (Kvass) benefits – why is fermentation good for you?
As we said at the beginning of this post, fermenting beets, rather than eating them raw, provides superior health benefits than raw beets alone.
They become even more bioavailable through fermentation, in addition to the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that result from this magical process.
Beet kvass has a long culinary tradition in Russia, Ukraine, and other Eastern European countries, where it is consumed therapeutically as a general health tonic.
Also, it is commonly added to soups, sauces and vinaigrettes.
Traditionally, beet Kvass has been used to:
- Increase immune function
- Cleanse the blood
- Combat fatigue
- Treat kidney stones
- Certain allergies
- Digestive disorders
- Liver cleansing
- Weight loss
Recent animal research confirms the gastrointestinal benefits of lacto fermented beet juice, shown to help improve intestinal microbiome and metabolic activity.
Case reports suggest that beet kvass may also improve age spots, thicken hair, and minimize gray hair appearance.
Due to its strong detoxifying properties, you should avoid drinking too much of it when you start using it.
Overdrinking can release many toxins, leading to bloating, constipation, and/or cold and flu symptoms.
As a general recommendation, start with one ounce a day and gradually increase to 1 1/2 ounces. If you feel it’s too strong for you, start with as little as one tablespoon.
Fermented beverages and hydration
These lactic acid-containing beverages have been valued for their medicinal qualities throughout the world, including the ability to relieve intestinal problems and constipation.
They are also valued for improving breastfeeding, soothing the sick, and promoting general well-being and stamina.
Above all, these drinks were considered superior to water in their ability to quench thirst during physical exertion.
Both soft drinks and alcoholic beverages – and even water – are poor substitutes for these healthy drinks.
Fermented beverages, taken in conjunction with meals, aid food digestion. Furthermore, if taken after physical exercise, they replace lost minerals, renewing the body’s reserves, rather than depleting them.
Get the most out of fermented beet benefits with this homemade Kvass recipe
Beets are rich in betacyanins, the pigments responsible for their characteristic color. Also, they have a high antioxidant capacity with an ORAC value of 1,776.
This may be one reason why beets favor the mitigation of inflammatory states in the body, the same ones that contribute to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
Alright, let’s make some!
Beet kvass is composed of simple ingredients and is very easy to make. Either by wild or spontaneous fermentation.
After much experimentation, the Kvass I now make at home is not only well tolerated; it’s a delightful drink.
For starters, I don’t use serum. I rely on a 2% brine to start and carry out the fermentation. This means 20 grams of salt per liter of water.
In this sense, it is important to weigh the salt, as its volume varies according to each type’s size and humidity.
For example, a thicker salt can weigh considerably less than a thinner one. So I always use a scale to avoid errors.
My advice to you is to be patient. As with sauerkraut, you will find instructions to encourage you to let it “ferment” for only 3 – 5 days. I warn you, the results will not be good.
On the contrary, you will need between 4 and 6 weeks. If it’s still too salty when you try it, leave it a bit longer.
Beet Kvass elaboration:
- Vegetable brush
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- A hermetically sealed glass jar (2 liters)
Ingredients for the first fermentation:
- Unpeeled washed beets, cut into small cubes (of approximately 1 cm). Enough to fill the pot in half
- A small piece of fresh ginger, cut into thin strips
- 2% brine (20 grams of salt per liter of filtered water and no chlorine)
Ingredients for the second fermentation:
- A whole orange (unpeeled)
- One clove (optional)
- A cinnamon stick (optional)
Place the beet cubes in the glass jar container, together with the ginger. Cover with the 2% brine up to the jar’s neck. Close it and leave it in a dark place for at least 4 weeks.
If you notice a foam layer forming on the top, you can open the jar to remove it with a skimmer and then close it immediately.
Don’t worry, this is not mold, but it could affect the taste of your finished product. Close the bottle and put it back in the dark.
After the first 4 weeks, you can try your Kvass. It should not taste too salty. If you still find it too salty and you don’t like it, close the bottle again and let it ferment longer.
When the taste is to your liking, it is time to go on to the second fermentation. To do this, strain the liquid and put it back into the jar, along with the orange and spices.
Then close it and put it back in a dark place. After a week or so, it will be ready. You can leave it longer, though I’ve had a “forgotten” bottle for about 3 months, and it turned out great.
Finally, strain, bottle and refrigerate your Kvass. It’s ready to serve and enjoy.
What does beet Kvass taste like and how do I take it?
Beet kvass is acidic, sour, a little sweet, a little salty. Many people drink between 50 and 100 ml in the morning and afternoon to promote good digestion and detoxification.
It is not necessary to take much. And neither would you like to drink a whole bottle as in the case of kombucha.
In this case, less is more. And if you can drink it on an empty stomach, you will get the most benefit out of it.
Other Suggestions and Recommendations
If you wish, you can separate Kvass from beets by straining the liquid into a clean bottle.
As for storage, research shows that when lacto-fermented Kvass beet is refrigerated, it maintains its antioxidant capacity for up to 30 days.
Of course, remaining beets can also be consumed, or reused to start another Kvass batch.
Besides, beets are an excellent complement to traditional borscht (beet soup), while Kvass could be used to prepare pickled hard-boiled eggs.
Some beet Kvass recipes require whey, but this is not really necessary and adds more steps and time to the process.
Similarly, other flavors can be added, such as raisins, strawberries, fresh-squeezed orange juice, apple, carrots, lavender, fresh or dried mint leaves, cinnamon, or ginger.
Whether you make beet juice, consume it raw or fermented, I strongly recommend buying organic beets.
Like many other crops, most sugar beets grown in the United States are now genetically modified.
Although beets are not currently GM, they are often grown close to sugar beets, and cross-pollination is known to occur.
Therefore, when choosing beets for consumption, whenever possible, opt for organic varieties to avoid possible contamination by GMOs.
You could also buy your own heirloom beet seeds because beets are easy to grow, and the great number of nutrients and real health benefits they provide is worth it.
Beet leaves also provide a lot of vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of fiber – a single cup accounts for 17% of your daily needs – as well as vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese and antioxidants.
The high amount of vitamin K found in beet leaves has blood-clotting properties, DNA support, helps prevent osteoporosis, works together with calcium to increase bone strength, and may also play a role in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Beet leaves contain more iron than spinach and a higher nutritional value.
Besides using the tender beet leaves in salads or for stir-frying, another excellent way to get all these nutrients is by juicing the leaves.
Raw & fermented beet benefits include the relief of certain ailments
As you can see, beets have a wide variety of health benefits.
People with high blood pressure or heart failure may want to try raw beet juice or beet Kvass and see if it works. Ask your doctor about it!
If you see improvements in your blood pressure or increased stamina after drinking beet juice, this may be a good option.
If you have diabetes or insulin resistance, carefully monitor how raw beet juice affects your overall health and consider how often you choose to drink it.
Generally, the best decision is to restraint its use. In any case, you should consult with your doctor.
Also, by providing beneficial bacteria, this drink could have a healthy impact on diabetes and several other health problems, especially those caused by intestinal dysfunction.
The list is quite long, as it is difficult to be optimally healthy if your intestinal microbiome is not.
Beets are healthy! Summary
Raw beets have been shown to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. This effect is due to nitrates naturally present in beets converted into nitric oxide in the body.
In turn, nitric oxide helps relax and dilate your blood vessels, which improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure.
In fact, in medical terms, nitrates are used to treat angina and congestive heart failure; and research shows that a glass of beet juice has the same effect as prescribed nitrates.
Also, competitive athletes drink beet juice for its benefits, which increase nitric oxide. Research shows that raw beets may increase exercise endurance by up to 16%, an effect attributed to increased nitric oxide levels.
In another study, it was found that nine patients diagnosed with heart failure–who experienced the loss of muscle strength and reduced ability to exercise–received benefits from drinking beet juice.
The patients were given 140 milliliters (mL)–approximately two-thirds of a cup–of beet juice concentrate. Tests were subsequently performed, which found that it almost instantly increased their muscle capacity by an average of 13%.
Be wary of using mouthwash or chewing gum, which prevents the conversion of nitric oxide from occurring.
The reason this happens is that bacteria, present in saliva, convert nitrate to nitrite. This nitrite is then converted to nitric oxide in other parts of the body.
Betaine, which is found naturally in beets, also helps reduce inflammation and protect against environmental stressors that may play a role in heart disease.
Beet has powerful immunostimulant and anti-cancer properties
Phytonutrients, which give beets their deep crimson color, also have powerful anti-cancer properties.
Research has shown that beet extract reduces multi-organ tumor formations in several animal models when administered through drinking water.
Besides, beet extract has been studied for use in treating pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer in humans.
Also, raw beet helps boost immune function because of high vitamin C levels, fiber, potassium, and manganese. Simultaneously, the betalain pigments and sulfur-containing amino acids are found in beet aid in the phase 2 detoxification process.
Beets have high B vitamin folate; likewise, it may decrease the risk of stroke and makes an excellent food for pregnant women.
Folate is essential for many body processes, and being deficient in it during pregnancy increases the risk of congenital disabilities.
Furthermore, the blood-purifying properties provided by fermented beet Kvass may help relieve morning sickness.