In the late 1950s Dr. Alexander Ferencziat in Hungary, using nothing but raw, red beets, treated cancer. The pigment that gives beets their rich, purple-crimson color—betacyanin—also seems to be a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beets are another high-antioxidant veggie, with an ORAC score of 1840, and a total antioxidant concentration of 1.98. They contain many healthful substances: betaine (aka: trimethylglycine, TMG), betalains, betacyanin, betanin, folate, iron, and fiber. Betaine helps convert homocysteine into methionine, preventing heart disease.

In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural andFood Chemistry, the team tested four color varieties of beets:white, orange, red and dark red. Only extracts from the red beets triggered higher levels of the protective enzymes.

A team of researchers led by UW-Madison[1] food scientist Kirk Parkin has shown that beet pigments may boost levels of proteins, called phase II enzymes, that help detoxify potential cancer-causing substances and purge them from the body.[2] Beets’ potential effectiveness against colon cancer in particular has been demonstrated in several studies.[3] In one study, animals under the double stress of chemically induced colon cancer and high cholesterol were divided into two groups. One group received a diet high in beet fiber while the other group served as a control. The beet fiber-fed animals rose to the challenge by increasing their activity of two antioxidant enzymes in the liver, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase.

The smallest bruise or puncture will cause red beets’ red-purple pigments, which contain beneficial flavonoids called anthycyanins, to bleed, especially during cooking.

The amount of juice you drink will determine the intensity of cleansing. Drinking small amounts of juice supplies fewer calories, thereby increasing detoxification. The more intense the cleansing, the greater the discomfort. Juice fasting allows you to have control over the process of elimination. However, when the body enters a cleansing crisis due to toxins in the blood, no amount of juice will eliminate the discomfort. You must wait it out.

[1] Phase II Enzyme-Inducing and Antioxidant Activities of Beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) Extracts from Phenotypes of Different Pigmentation; Mahinda Wettasinghe, Bradley Bolling, Leslie Plhak, Hang Xiao, and Kirk Parkin; J. Agric. Food Chem., 2002, 50 (23), pp 6704–6709;