Beet Kvass – A Tasty Fat Digestion Promotor and Health Tonic!

Beet Kvass Shooters with whipped almond cheese at the Primal Fat Burner book launch event

Beet kvass is thought to have originated in the Ukraine. This is a cultured/fermented beverage occasionally sold in upscale natural foods stores and health food stores (typically at a premium) but can be easily made at home with a minimum of time or difficulty. Still, if you want to simply purchase some to try, Zukay makes an excellent one, along with numerous other delicious and innovative cultured beverages.

Although beets themselves are typically high in sugar (in fact, most table sugar is actually made with GMO sugar beets and not sugar cane), the fermentation process removes all or most of the sugar from the finished product and is otherwise used to feed the healthy probiotic bacteria in it that are generated the process. The result is a healthy, low sugar/no sugar probiotic beverage with all the inherent benefits associated with beets, themselves. It’s a win-win!

Beets (especially in the form of kvass, sans the sugar) have been purported and demonstrated to have a wide range of benefits.[1] Among them includes cardiovascular benefits (lowering systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points)[2], improved high intensity exercise tolerance and muscular contractile efficiency during exercise[3], positive cholesterol/lipoprotein modifying effects[4], hepato-protective effects[5], anti-inflammatory effects[6], numerous unique antioxidant benefits[7] [8], brain-boosting benefits[9], the enhancement of phase II hepatic detoxification[10], impressive anti-microbial effects[11] and even anti-cancer benefits[12] [13] [14] [15]. The cardiovascular, brain-boosting, some of the anti-inflammatory and exercise intensity tolerance benefits seem to be associated with enhanced nitrous oxide (NO) activity following its consumption. In one study, just 500 ml of beet juice generated a significant drop in blood pressure associated with increased plasma nitrate (NO) concentrations![16] It can also help improve methylation and reduce homocysteine levels. [17] Beetroot (Beta vulgais L.) has even shown promise in the neutralization of calcium oxalate (oxalic acid), thereby helping to inhibit the formation of oxalate crystals associated with kidney stones![18]

The presence of betaine in beets (found most concentrated at the part of the bulb that connects to the stems, at the very top—always include this part of the beet in your kvass recipe), has a few different health benefits. It can help improve digestion and the flow of digestive juices, it can help thin sluggish or congestive bile in a way that can improve its flow and function digesting fats[19], and it also has unique anti-inflammatory benefits.[20] A report from ‘World’s Healthiest Foods’ stated the following:

“[Betaine’s]… presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”

Beets are also considered an excellent blood tonic and it has been used to help cleanse the liver, promote regularity, improve systemic alkalization and even help treat kidney stones.

What’s not to love?

Beet kvass can be made in a couple of different ways (using a starter culture or simple “wild fermentation”, relying on naturally occurring bacteria from the soil and surrounding environment). Other ingredients could also technically be added. Purchasing a starter culture isn’t absolutely necessary, but there can be significant benefits gotten from a really good one. Dr. Joseph Mercola sells one in particular that has some rather exciting benefits. Called “Kinetic Culture”, this probiotic culture is specifically formulated to boost vitamin K2 production from bacterial fermentation![22] Using a culture can also promote a bit more piece of mind, ensuring that only beneficial bacteria end up in your kvass.

This beverage is then strained off from the beet and imbibed in small amounts as a daily tonic.

Serving Ideas:

  • Drink a small glass (just a few ounces) daily.
  • Add to salad dressing
  • Use as the base of a cold soup (such as my Medicinal/Probiotic Lithuanian Šaltibarščiai (cold beet) Kvass Soup)

My favorite beet kvass recipe is in my new book, Primal Fat Burner!

~ Nora

PS. Check out my NEW online program, Primal Restoration TM!

REFERENCES:

[1] Ninfali P, Angelino D. “Nutritional and functional potential of Beta vulgaris civla and rubra.” Fitoterapia. Volume 89, September 2013, Pages 188–199

[2] Coles LT, Clifton PM. “Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” Nutr J. 2012 Dec 11;11:106. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-106.

[3] Bailey SJ, Winyard P, Vanhatalo A, et al. “Dietary nitrite supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans.” J Appl Physiol. 2009 Oct;107(4):1144-55.

[4] Bobek P, Galbavý S, Mariássyová M. “The effect of red beet (Beta vulgaris var. rubra) fiber on alimentary hypercholesterolemia and chemically induced colon carcinogenesis in rats.” Nahrung. 2000 Jun;44(3):184-7.

[5] Krajka-Kuźniak V, Szaefer H, Ignatowicz E, et al. “Beetroot juice protects against N-nitrosodiethylamine-induced liver injury in rats.” Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Jun ;50(6):2027-33.

[6] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49

[7] Xiaoling L, Wang Y, Zhang Z. “Radioprotective activity of betalains from red beets in mice exposed to gamma radiation.” Eur J Pharmacol. 2009 Aug 1;615(1-3):223-7.

[8] Song W, Derito CM, Liu MK et al. “Cellular antioxidant activity of common vegetables.” J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Jun 9;58(11):6621-9. 2010.

[9] Wightman EL, Haskell-Ramsay CF, Thompson KG, et al. “Dietary nitrite modulates cerebral blood flow parameters and cognitive performance in humans: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover investigation.” Physiol Behav. 2015 Oct 1;149:149-58. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.05.035.

[10] Lee CH, Wettasinghe M, Bolling BW et al. “Betalains, phase II enzyme-inducing components from red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extracts.” Nutr Cancer. 2005;53(1):91-103.

[11] Prahoveanu E, Eşanu V, Anton G, Frunzulică S. “Prophylactic effect of a Beta vulgaris extract on experimental influenza infection in mice.” Virologie. 1986 Apr-Jun;37(2):121-3.

[12] Kaspadia GJ, Azuine MA, Rao GS, et al. “Cytotoxic effect of the red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extract compared to doxorubicin (Adriamycin) in the human prostate (PC-3) and breast (MCF-7) cancer cell lines.” Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2011 Mar ;11(3):280-4.

[13] Szaefer H, Krajka-Kuźniak V, Ignatowicz E, et al. “Evaluation of the Effect of Beetroot Juice on DMBA-induced Damage in Liver and Mammary Gland of Female Sprague-Dawley Rats.” Phytother Res. 2013 Mar 1. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

[14] Kapadia GJ, Tokuda H, Konoshima T, Nishino H. “Chemoprevention of lung and skin cancer by Beta vulgaris (beet) root extract.” Cancer Lett. 2008 Jan 18;259(1):39-49. Epub 2007 Oct 29.

[15] Reddy MK, Alexander-Lindo RL and Nair MG. “Relative inhibition of lipid peroxidation, cyclooxygenase enzymes, and human tumor cell proliferation by natural food colors.” J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Nov 16;53(23):9268-73. 2005.

[16] Webb AJ, Patel N, Loukogeorgakis S, et al. “Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite.” Hypertension. 2008 Mar;51(3):784-90.

[17] Craig SAS. “Betaine in human nutrition.” Am J Clin Nutr September 2004
vol. 80 no. 3 539-549

[18] Saranya R, Geetha N. “Inhibition of calcium oxalate (caox) crystallization in vitro by the extract of beet root (beta vulgais l.).” International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2014. Vol. 6, suppl. 2. ISSN-0975-1491

[19] ibid

[20] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49

[21] Stronger S. “Beet Kvass: An easy fermented tonic you can make at home.” Health Impact News. November 15, 2015

[22] http://shop.mercola.com/product/kinetic-culture-30g-1-bottle,1275,0,0.htm

[23] http://shop.mercola.com/product/kinetic-culture-30g-1-bottle,1275,417,0.htm

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Comments

  1. Laurie Rathsam says

    I signed up for PrimalFatBurner52 program (sent the verification of proof of purchase of the Primal Fat Burner book) and have heard nothing. Is that still in effect?

  2. Marlyse Kusik says

    Dear Dr. Nora I tried to sign up for the Beet Kvass recipe and have no other email than the one from my late husband that I use. I am over 92 years old and do not know much computer and it said it had my e-mail. Dr. Perlmutter introduced me to you . I make beet & fennel salad. I’ll appreciate help getting pdf of recipe. Thank you so much and have a wonderful time Marlyse

  3. Catherine Hickman says

    Thank you for this excellent information.
    I grate and ferment organic beetroot with seasalt, I do not strain but eat a couple of forkfuls of the ferment every morning.
    Is the beetroot still low in sugar?
    I’m sure that it retains all the other goodness but am trying to keep my blood sugar down.

  4. admin says

    Dear Marlyse, the Beet Kvass recipe is in my new book, Primal Fat Burner. Unfortunately, I don’t have a PDF version of the recipe. Please consider buying the book at your local bookstore or online retailer. Thanks for your support! ~ Nora

  5. Robyn Churcher says

    Hi Nora
    Can I ferment cold pressed beetroot juice with the tops added?
    And can I use the beetroot pieces once strained for other things so its not wasted?
    Thankyou
    Robyn
    P.S. new book is fab!…so comprehensive yet easy to read and have already gifted it a couple of times x

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