GOOD FOR : gut, heart, blood, pathologies
COST : $
SKILL : easy
TIME : 5-10 min prep then brew for 8-10 days
Beetroot Kvass 101
Have you heard of beet kvass until now? If not, you’re missing out one of the most nutritious, affordable and filling health drinks out there. This veteran super-food has been around since the ancient times, long before we discovered it can be converted into sugar. Even though I’ve been a health nut for years, I never quite had the courage to try beet kvass until very recently because I thought the taste and texture of the drink would be off-putting. Luckily, I was wrong! With a bit of preparation and the right ingredients, you can give beet a delicious flavor and enjoy a sweet-salty drink chock full of vitamins, antioxidants and amazing health benefits. Here’s why we should drink kvas.
Vitamins and minerals in beetroot
Since its first cultivation more than 4,000 years ago, beetroot has been used both for its valuable nutritional content and its medicinal properties. Having been associated with several health benefits, including low blood pressure, proper digestion, increased athletic performance and boosted energy levels, beetroot seldom requires pesticide treatment and is grown in some of the most environmentally-friendly crops in the industry. With 87% of its content being water, the plant is rich in essential vitamins and minerals like folate, manganese, vitamin C, iron and potassium. Consumed in moderate to high quantities, these nutrients promote cardiovascular health and tissue growth, as well as improve cell function and oxygen transportation in the blood. Beetroot also contains several beneficial plant compounds such as vulgaxanthin and betanin, both of which have been linked to cancer prevention. The active substances in beetroot are also used as natural colorants in the food industry, however, their main appeal is still their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The plant is also a great source of beneficial flavonoids, dietary fiber, carotenoids and other organic compounds like lutein and glycine.
Health benefits of consuming beetroot
Packed with antioxidants, anthocyanin and essential nutrients, beetroot has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve heart health, heal inflammation and regulate the digestive tract. Stimulating red blood cell production, the pigment in beetroot can increase the level of antioxidant enzymes in the body, as well as reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and consequently protect the lining of arterial walls. In addition, beetroot juice is an extremely potent purifier that can aid in detoxification or be used as a home remedy for hair care. You might think that due to its high sugar content, this plant is not suitable for diabetics. On the contrary, the antioxidant in beet known as alpha-lipoic acid has been proven to heighten insulin sensitivity and decrease glucose levels in patients with diabetes. Beetroot consumption has also been linked to increased exercise capacity, improved memory and concentration and lower breast, colon, lung and stomach cancer risk.
Why you should add beet kvass to your diet
Kvass is a traditional fermented beverage made from musty bread or beets, similar to the therapeutic drink kombucha (effervescent green or black tea). Originating in Ukraine, the brew is widely-known for its medicinal properties and disease prevention value. With a high concentration of betalains and more fiber than the original plant, beet kvass is recognized as an excellent liver cleanser, proven to remove toxins from the gallbladder, as well as counteract free radical damage and regulate bile flow. Moreover, the drink enhances stamina, helps muscle oxygenation and is considered a natural remedy for anemia due to its high iron concentration.
If you’re trying to move toward a more alkaline diet, beet kvass is a must-have in your refrigerator. Kvass is rich in phytonutrients that reinforce a healthy pH level and increase the levels of hemoglobin in the body – regularly alkalizing the blood. The drink is also a great source of manganese – a mineral that promotes bone, kidney and liver health. If you suffer from allergies, this is a natural remedy that will not only reduce your symptoms, but also boost your immune system due to its high probiotic content. Probably the most significant health benefit of consuming kvass is the reduction in multi-organ tumor formations. Renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, the juice has been used as a natural treatment for cancer, as well as a useful tool in cancer prevention due to its tumor inhibiting effects.
How do I make beet kvass?
If you’re anything like me – no matter how healthy a super-food is, you need it to at least taste bearable for you to try it, let alone include it in your daily diet. Fortunately, kvass doesn’t require that much effort to make and is easy to flavor according to your taste preferences. What you need are 2 to 4 medium beets, pure water and 2 tablespoons of pink salt or sea salt (half of this amount can be used in conjunction with whey or ¼ cup of sauerkraut juice). It’s very important to use filtered water, because otherwise the chemicals in the water will cause the beets to spoil and prevent probiotics (good bacteria) from forming. If you’re using tap water, you can try keeping it out overnight or boiling it to ensure that the chlorine has dissipated.
Start by washing the beets and chopping them into 3 to 4 cm chunks. If you’re not using organic produce, make sure you peel them first. Place the pieces in a jar (about 3.8 L) and add the salt.
Next, fill the jar with chemical-free water and place a towel over it.
Leave it covered for 2 days (at room temperature) for the fermentation process to take place.
Make sure you check it daily to catch any overflow and graze off any mold that might form on the top. You can use ½ an onion and ¼ cabbage (chopped) to make it taste better, as well as experiment with different combinations and see what works best for you.
And badabing! When kvas is ready, keep it in your fridge and use it as a daily tonic, salad dressing, cocktail mixer or for soups.