Health Benefits of Beets
Beets are a vibrant superfood that you should be eating regularly. They're highly nutritious and packed with vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Consuming beets has many health benefits. They promote healthy blood vessels, lower blood pressure, support detoxification, and benefits vision and digestive health.
Let's look at the nutritional benefits of beets and how you can incorporate this healthy root vegetable into your keto diet.
What are beets?
Beets, or beetroots, are root vegetables belonging to the same botanical family as spinach, chard, and quinoa. While beets typically are bright red, heirloom varieties have become popular in recent years, including white, yellow, and golden beets.
All parts of beets are edible and a rich source of nutrients. The stalks and leaves of beet greens work well in salads and are an excellent addition to your favorite green smoothie recipe.
Beets are a versatile ingredient you can enjoy raw, steamed, pickled, or roasted.
Watch the video below to learn more about beet’s powerful health benefits and why you should add beets to your Healthy Keto® diet.
Are beets keto-friendly?
There is a common misconception that beets aren’t keto-friendly.
Beets are on the Keto Food List because they contain high amounts of dietary fiber and are low in net carbs.
While beets contain some carbs, their high fiber content buffers the carb’s impact on your insulin and blood sugar levels, making beets an excellent choice for keto.
It’s important to note that beet juice isn’t keto-approved. Juicing removes the fiber but not the carbs, resulting in a high-carb juice that can quickly push you out of ketosis.
Beet nutrition facts
A serving of 1/2 cup of cooked beets contains:
0 g total fat
1.1 g protein
6 g total carbs
2 g fiber
4 g net carbs
Not only are beets low in net carbs and calories, but they also contain essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.
Beets are an excellent source of:
Beets are one of the few food sources of betalains, a group of health-promoting plant chemicals. Red and purple beets are packed with betacyanins, yellow and golden beets are rich in betaxanthins, and beet greens are an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Five health benefits of beets
It's well-known that regularly eating beets can be effective in lowering blood pressure. However, beet's unique nutritional profile also has profound benefits for liver health and hormone balance and may reduce your risk of chronic diseases and cancer.
Here are five reasons why you should eat beets regularly.
1. Support healthy blood pressure
Beets are rich in dietary nitrates, a compound that is converted to nitric oxide. This potent vasodilator widens blood vessels which helps to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Research confirms that a nitrate-rich diet, including beets, significantly lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease.
2. Promote eye health
Beets—especially beet greens—are exceptionally rich in carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin. These phytonutrients protect the delicate tissue in your eyes from oxidation and safeguard cells in your retina from UV-light damage.
Regularly consuming carotenoid-rich foods promotes retinal health and lowers your risk of age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
3. Support detoxification
Beets are an excellent food for liver health and beets support detoxification.
Beets are among the top food sources of betalains. These potent phytochemicals promote the release of enzymes needed to detoxify drugs, chemicals, and metabolic by-products.
Betalains are also found to balance blood lipid levels and may benefit people with fatty liver disease. Betalains increase the clearance of harmful fatty acids in the liver and have potent anti-inflammatory properties that protect liver cells from oxidation.
4. Combat inflammation
Beets are rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients, including betalains, carotenoids, and phytochemicals.
Chronic inflammation is linked to developing a wide range of diseases and increases the risk of cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, heart disease, arthritis, and eczema.
Regularly adding beets to your diet helps to reduce inflammation and supports a healthy body.
5. Lower cancer risk
Beets contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that may lower prostate, breast, liver, and stomach cancer risk.
This study suggests that betaxanthin, a pigment in red and purple beets, may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and protect your cells from oxidation and inflammation linked to carcinogenesis.
Beets also are a rich source of folate, a B vitamin crucial in protecting your DNA from damage. Low folate levels increase the risk of DNA mutations and are linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Beets are a keto-friendly superfood that supports your health and may lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. They’re exceptionally rich in health-promoting nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Regularly consuming beets supports healthy blood pressure and eye health, promotes liver health, and helps to fight chronic inflammation.
Beets are a highly nutritious and versatile ingredient that you can enjoy raw, pickled, roasted, or steamed.
1. Are beets a superfood?
Yes, beets are a bona fide superfood. They’re a rich source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. Beets are one of the few food sources of betalains, a group of potent health-promoting phytochemicals.
Regularly consuming beets supports healthy blood pressure, lowers your risk of heart and liver disease, promotes healthy vision, and may protect you from the development of colon cancer.
2. Can I have beets on keto?
Yes, beets are keto-friendly. Beets are low in net carbs, high in dietary fiber, and a highly nutritious vegetable that you can regularly incorporate into your keto menu plan.
While beets are an excellent keto-approved food, it’s best to avoid drinking beetroot juice. Beet juice is high in carbs, contains no dietary fiber, and can quickly push you out of ketosis.
3. How many carbs do beets have?
A serving of 1/2 cup of cooked beets contains 4 grams of net carbs.
While beets contain some carbs and are high on the glycemic index, their glycemic load is low because beets are rich in dietary fiber. Eating whole beets won’t affect your blood sugar or insulin levels.
4. Can I eat beets every day?
Eating moderate amounts of beets daily is an excellent choice to support your health.
However, it's best to avoid eating too many beets if you are prone to kidney stones. Beets are high in oxalates and can increase the risk of kidney stone formation.
5. Is it better to have beets raw or cooked?
Raw beets are the most nutritious option. Cooked beets typically contain lower levels of health-promoting nitrates, vitamins, and phytochemicals.
If you don't enjoy the texture of raw beetroot, steaming them no longer than 15 minutes will soften the skin and flesh while preserving most of the nutrients.
6. Is it normal to have red stool after eating beets?
Yes, it's normal to have red stool after eating beets. Beets contain betanin, a red pigment giving beets their distinct color. Some people cannot fully break down betanin during digestion, resulting in reddish-colored stool and urine.
Red stool after eating beets isn't anything to worry about. However, if your stool is red more than a day or two after eating beets, it's best to consult with your doctor. Red stool can indicate intestinal bleeding.
7. Can I eat beet greens on keto?
Yes, beet greens are excellent for keto. One cup of beet greens contains less than half a gram of net carbs, making it a nutritious and keto-friendly ingredient.
Beet greens are packed with nutrients and are a rich source of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that promote healthy vision and lower the risk of heart disease.
8. Are pickled beets healthy?
If fresh beets aren't available, pickled beets are an excellent alternative. Because pickled beets are fermented, they’re a prebiotic food that feeds your gut bacteria and supports digestive health.
However, some pickled beet products contain large amounts of sugar. Check labels and choose beets pickled without added sugars.