Health Benefits Of Beets

Nutritional value of beets

Beetroot or Beets, also known as Beta vulgaris, is a root vegetable that belongs to the amaranth family, the same family as spinach. The plant is extensively grown for both its taproot and edible leaves, but consumed mainly for the roots. 

Beetroot is routinely eaten as part of a normal diet but is also popular for its use in food items as an additive and natural colourant (E162). Beets are one of the most hated foods among Americans and were  ranked as the second-least preferred vegetable in the globe after turnips so why is this plant called a Superdrug Superdrug1

Although reports of beetroot use as a natural medicine stretch back to the Roman era, scientific interest in the vegetable as a functional food any food or food component that offers health benefits in addition to the regular nutrients it contains- has only recently increased.

Vitamins and minerals found in beets

Beets are particularly high in vitamin C, even though they also contain many vitamins, including folate, vitamin B, vitamin K, niacin, and thiamin. 4.9mg mg of vitamin C, in 100g of raw beets. However, this vit C content drops when beets are cooked in boiling water,  due to the water-soluble nature of vitamin C.2

They also contain iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

The high  fibre content of beets

Beets are rich in dietary fibre; up to four grams of nutritional fibre can be found in just a cup of beets. The fibre content is the reason why beet consumption is recommended to promote the normal functioning of the digestive system; ingesting beets also minimises constipation issues.

Low calorie and carbohydrate count

Beets are low in calories and protein, and also free of fat and cholesterol- a cup of beets contains almost no fat. Polyunsaturated fat, which is regarded as a healthy fat, makes up the small quantity of fat found in beetroot. Remember that the method of cooking the beets also matters. For instance, if you roast beets with olive oil, you'll be consuming a greater amount of fat.3

Health benefits of beets

Improved blood pressure and circulation

The consumption of raw beet juice and cooked beet differ in their ability to reduce blood pressure, according to recent research, which has brought up various views on the subject. A team of researchers conducted a study4 and found that beet juice had a blood-pressure-lowering effect, particularly systolic blood pressure; another team of researchers found that even though both forms of beet were effective in reducing blood pressure and protecting the blood vessels, raw beetroot juice had a more potent antihypertensive impact in hypertensive subjects when compared to cooked beets.5

Beetroot’s effect on the vessels is largely attributed to its high inorganic nitrate content; however, the nitrate on its own does not provide these beneficial effects. The effects are instead obtained when the nitrate is converted within the body to form nitric oxide (NO), which has significant vascular and metabolic functions. 

For sustained results, it is advised to consume beet juice for at least two weeks. However, more studies are required to determine the long-term impact of beet juice administration in hypertensive people. This decrease in blood pressure, particularly systolic blood pressure, would reduce public health spending as well as morbidity and mortality.

Lowered risk of heart disease

 According to preliminary studies, people with heart disease who take red beetroot extract for two weeks can lower their total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, also called  "bad" cholesterol, as well as triglycerides-fat in the blood excess amounts of which have been linked to heart disease.6

Beets also contain nutrients that help to regulate blood pressure in addition to nitrates. They are Potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Potassium relaxes the blood vessels and controls blood pressure; calcium helps the muscles to contract and relax, while magnesium facilitates the movement of both calcium and potassium. The research found that giving patients with heart failure a glass of beetroot juice increased their muscle strength.7

Anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties

Additionally, beetroot is one of the few vegetables to contain betalains, a class of extremely bioactive pigments. According to several studies, betalains exhibit strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in animal models.8

This has generated interest in the potential function of beetroot in medical conditions like liver disease, arthritis, and even cancer that are characterised by oxidative damage and chronic inflammation.

Betalains are not the only antioxidants found in beets; several highly active phenolics are also found in beets, like rutin, and caffeic acid, and are also well-known for being excellent antioxidants. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that nitrite can directly scavenge possibly harmful molecules like superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, indicating that nitrate may also have antioxidant effects.

At the site of inflammation, redness, swelling, pain, and reduced function may be felt immediately; however, what's more, worrisome is the potential long-term consequences if inflammation continues and isn't treated.

Chronic inflammation that leads to long-term cell malfunction can occur when the invasive element is not removed and normal immune function is not restored. Obesity, liver disease, cancer, and heart disease are just a few clinical diseases that are frequently linked to chronic inflammation in both their early stages and later stages.

Additional health benefits of beets

Boosted exercise performance

Beetroot juice has been suggested to increase the availability of NO (nitric oxide) and nitrate (NO3-), molecules that increase vessel dilation and glucose uptake, two factors which are linked to improved athletic performance. Research shows that runners' fatigue significantly improved after taking nitrate-rich beetroot juice for 15 days when compared to their counterparts who did not ingest beetroot juice.9

Professional endurance athletes looking for dietary strategies to boost their running ability may find these results useful.

Improved digestive health

Dietary fibre, which is the component of food that does not go through the digestive process and gives your faeces bulk, is abundant in beets. This promotes regular bowel motions and protects you from digestive disorders like constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.

Potential anti cancer effects

A particularly abundant supply of antioxidant compounds is found in beetroot. Numerous in vitro studies have demonstrated that betalain colours in particular, can shield cellular components from oxidative damage. The betanin pigments in beetroot have been shown in chemoprevention experiments to be beneficial in the destruction of cancer cells.10

Different ways to consume beets

Roasted beets

 Cooking beetroot lowers the chance of contracting a food-borne illness because it eliminates harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, nitrate content is also lowered. Cooking techniques that still retain a good portion of nitrates include boiling, steaming, grilling, baking, or frying.

 Beets can be roasted at temperatures of around 200oc for about 30 minutes until caramelised. After this, they could be served chilled in salads or sliced and seasoned with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, after which they could be served warm.

Beet juice

Beets make fantastic juice. All beet components, including the leaves, are edible. Beet juice retains all of the nutrients found in fresh beets; the only thing you won't get is the fibre found in a whole beet. 

To prepare beetroot juice, it is ideal to use a home juicer and fresh beets, it can be consumed alone or flavoured with other sweet fruits, the list is endless when it comes to recipes for this juice.11 The juice is also sold in stores but be careful when buying these,  read the components to ensure there aren't any extra sugars or preservatives added that might counteract the juice's nutritional content. 

Beetroot powder

Beetroot can be consumed raw. This raw form can also be dried and ground into a powder, the product obtained after drying is very concentrated and 1 medium beetroot might give you just 1 teaspoon of powder! This powder can be used in sauces, smoothies, noodles, muffins, and other baked goods, it is really up to you.

 Raw beetroot, however should not be given to infants below 3 months. raw beetroot is the most nutrient-dense form of the vegetable, it is also very filling due to the fibrous content. Additionally, eating raw beets helps you retain the nutritious advantages and flavour, especially those related to their vitamin content.

Before juicing or consuming raw, beetroot should be thoroughly cleaned and peeled to get rid of any bacteria.

Possible side effects and precautions


This term is used to describe discoloured urine as a result of beet and beet foods consumption. The colour usually ranges from a deep pink to red and occurs in about 1 out of 10 people.12

It has been noted to mostly occur in people who have iron deficiency. It is usually very alarming to the individual because the urine appears bloody; however, as long as other causes have been ruled out, urine discolouration is the only symptom of beeturia and the urine returns to its normal colour some days after the beet consumption is stopped.

Interactions with medications

To reduce their risk of fainting and accidents, those who are already hypotensive might not want to lower their blood pressure. This is why people who consume beets regularly while taking blood pressure medication should keep an eye on their blood pressure, and consult their doctor if hypotension becomes a problem.

Allergic reactions

After excessive consumption, rare mild reactions to beetroot may include itchiness or rash. Even though eating beetroot regularly is healthy, about 2 cups of beets are usually enough to provide the energy needed to get through the day. Naturally, the recommended daily value differs according to things like age, weight, and height.

Because of their positive effects on the health of gut bacteria, beets are excellent for the digestive system. However, consumption of beets may cause digestive discomfort such as bloating in individuals with sensitive stomachs. The fibre in beets may help to improve movement in the gut, resulting in a mild upset stomach. This might be even more pronounced in cases where your fibre intake was already insufficient before the addition of beets to the diet.

Excessive consumption of beetroots has been linked to kidney stones and this has been linked to the oxalic acid content of the beetroot. Not to worry, oxalate-free beetroot powder supplements are now available where oxalic acid has been removed so that you can experience the health benefits of beets without the potential side effects. 13

Beetroot consumption is regarded as safe during pregnancy. However, they should be used with caution due to the potential to cause dizziness. Beetroots should be consumed moderately, though, just like all other foods.

The best time to consume beets raw is in the summer if you want to get the most nutrition out of them, although beets are harvested all summer long and into the autumn.

Even though beets store well in the refrigerator, they should be consumed as soon as possible to get the highest nutritional benefit. They could be peeled and refrigerated in an open container, they can keep this way for a few months. Cooked frozen beets are said to be able to keep for a year but there is really no reason to try this out.


Beets are root vegetables that are consumed as foods but also have physiological effects due to their high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are popularly used to promote heart health gut health and improve exercise endurance, which researchers have attributed to their high fibre and nitrate content. They can be consumed in various forms such as raw, cooked, and juiced. Few side effects have been observed after beetroot consumption, the most distinct being red-coloured urine, and beeturia and this is considered a harmless side-effect.


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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