One of the top questions I get in my office when talking about diet and cancer is “Are Beets Good For Cancer?” Many people come into my office juicing beets, eating beets, and even taking supplements and powders made from Beets. The confusing part is that beets can be high in sugar and contain cancer promotion amino acids. So my answer to this question typically is…

STOP EATING and SUPPLEMENTING WITH BEETS

The good news about Beets (which is probably why you are eating them) is that they can:

  • Support Liver Health
  • Aide in detoxification
  • Provide important minerals and nutrients
  • Add purple plant phytochemicals to your diet
  • Help with muscle recovery

This can be great for someone that has not been diagnosed with cancer.

But Guess What…There’s some not so good news about Beets too. Beets might actually promote cancer growth. 

Beets are high in Arginine, which can stimulate blood vessel formation, also known as Angiogenesis. So, before using Beets in your diet or supplements, you might want to know what your VEGF, D-Dimer, and Fibrinogen levels are. These are blood tests which could indicate angiogenesis activity.

Just to make things a little more confusing, Beets have also been studied to block tumor growth! So maybe beets are good for cancer.  

Research studies show that Beets might:

  • Increase tumor cell death when taken as a fiber/pectin (not a juice or food)
  • Betanin/isobetanin concentrate significantly decreased cancer cell proliferation and viability
  • May reverse the negative effects of smoking
  • Reduce inflammation in Colon Cancer cell lines
  • Protect against the side effects of doxorubicin/adriamycin while making the drug more effective

Don’t like Beets, but still want some of the health benefits? Try Prickly Pear Juice, which is another source of betalains.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26572430

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26463240

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189507/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29846082

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27719921