Beetroot 101: The Health Benefits of Beetroot | 1MD Nutrition™

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Beetroot 101: The Health Benefits of Beetroot

Beetroots, also known as just beets, are highly nutritious vegetables full of inorganic nitrates that have been linked to a number of health benefits.

By 1MD Nutrition Editorial Staff

8 minute read

Last Updated January 28, 2022

Beetroot 101: The Health Benefits of Beetroot

Beetroot, also known as beet, is a root vegetable packed full of nutrients to support your health. However, there is more to this brightly colored vegetable than meets the eye. Not only can you get beets in a range of colors from purple-pink to reddish-brown, but every beetroot also gives you a range of essential nutrients, making it a contender for the ‘most super’ superfood. 

Beetroot comes from the same family as sugar beets but is genetically and nutritionally different. Sugar beets are white and mostly used for the sugar that can be extracted from them to sweeten foods. You cannot extract sugar from beetroot. Instead, beetroot, beetroot juice, and beetroot powder are used for their nutritional value and health benefits.

Beetroot Nutrition Facts

Beetroot is low in calories and primarily consists of water, carbohydrates, and fiber. The specific breakdown for 100 grams (¾ cup) of raw beetroot is:

♦ Water: 88%
♦ Carbohydrates: 9.6 grams
♦ Sugar: 6.8 grams
♦ Fiber: 2.8 grams
♦ Protein: 1.6 grams
♦ Fat: 0.2 grams
♦ Calories: 43

Carbohydrate Content

Both raw and cooked beetroot offers approximately 8-10% carbohydrates. Glucose and fructose (simple sugars) make up 70 and 80% of these carbohydrates, respectively. Beetroots are also high in fructans, short-chain carbohydrates that can be difficult for some people to digest. 

Beetjuice in jars a steel basket with freshly cut beets

Carbohydrates can also be a concern for some in regards to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Beetroots have a glycemic load of 5, which is very low, so it will not have a significant impact on blood sugar. 

Fiber Content

Beetroots are a high-fiber food, with ½ cup serving offering 0.7 grams of soluble fiber and 1 gram of insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps support healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels, while insoluble fiber promotes healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. Beetroots give you the best of both fibers for better health.

Vitamins and Minerals

But wait, there’s more. Beetroot has more to offer than just water, carbohydrates, and fiber. You also get a host of essential vitamins and minerals to support whole-body health. The dense nutritional content includes:

♦ Folate, also known as vitamin B9, helps to support normal tissue growth and cell function. Folate also helps to lower homocysteine levels which promote healthier heart function. 

♦ Manganese, an essential trace mineral, helps support proper fat and carbohydrate metabolism to support healthy digestion and weight management. Manganese also plays a role in the development of connective tissues, bones, and hormones. 

Iron, an essential mineral, has several important roles in the body. Iron is required for the transport of oxygen around the body to support proper cognitive and physiological functions. Iron also helps to preserve energy, focus, digestive processes, and immune system function.

♦ Potassium, one of the most important minerals in the body, helps to regulate fluid balance, nerve signaling, and muscle contractions. Potassium-rich diets also help to support kidney, bone, and heart health. 

♦ Phosphorus mostly supports the healthy formation of bone and teeth and plays a role in the metabolism and utilization of fat and carbohydrates.

Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, helps reduce everyday oxidative stress that can damage tissues, support immune system function, promote skin health, and improve iron absorption in your diet. Vitamin C also acts as a vasodilator, relaxing blood vessels to promote healthy circulation and heart function.

Beetroot also contains small amounts of calcium, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin A, and vitamin B6.

Baked beetroot crisps with garlic

Other Plant Compounds

And we are not done yet. As a root vegetable, beetroots contain holistic plant compounds that provide further health benefits. Because, let's face it, the more health benefits we can get, the better.

♦ Betanin, also known as beetroot red, is the pigment that gives beetroots their fun color, and it also provides several health benefits. As an antioxidant, betanin supports the body's natural detoxification process and helps calm emotions and everyday stress.

♦ Vulgaxanthin is an orange/yellow pigment that also provides antioxidant protection for cells and supports healthy detoxification and immune system processes. 

♦ Inorganic nitrate turns into nitric oxide in the body, which has many important functions.

Inorganic Nitrates

Inorganic nitrates are so important that they get their own section. Nitrates are organic compounds found in the body and several foods, including beetroots. Nitrates are stable, but the bacteria in your mouth can convert them into nitrites. These, in turn, either turn into nitric oxide, which has several health benefits, or nitrosamines, which can be harmful. 

Consumed beetroots will be transformed into nitric oxide by the body

There is a distinction to be made between nitrates that are added to foods and those found naturally in vegetables. Nitrates are often added to meats and processed foods to add flavor, color, and kill bacteria. But, high consumption of these added nitrates has been linked to poor digestive health. On the other hand, naturally-sourced nitrates can help support heart health.

Nitrates have been shown to possess purifying properties, which means they can help fight against environmental threats. They can also be turned into nitric oxide, which is an important signaling molecule used throughout the body. As long as you stay aware of where your nitrates are coming from, they can be a friend and not a foe.

It just so happens that your best friend and source of naturally-derived nitrates is the beetroot. This vegetable contains over 250mg of nitrate per every 100g, and this, combined with the assortment of essential nutrients, can benefit your health in several ways.

Health Benefits of Beetroot

Maintains Healthy Blood Pressure

The vitamin C in beetroots and the nitrates that are converted to nitric oxide work to relax blood vessels, promote healthy circulation, and maintain healthy blood pressure. ou can maintain better heart health with dietary changes that support healthy blood pressure levels.

Beetroot consumption will reduce the blood pressure

Increases Exercise Capacity

Beetroot powder and juice are often used by athletes and for a good reason. Along with the nutrients that support metabolic health and energy, the nitrates in beetroot help support optimal physical performance by promoting mitochondrial efficiency. As the creators of energy in your cells, when mitochondria get support, so do you.  

Promotes Digestive Health

Fiber is one of the best digestive aids, and beetroots have plenty. Fiber not only feeds the good bacteria in your gut, but it supports healthy bowel movements and a healthy gut. Fiber goes one step further for your health by supporting metabolic and heart health by maintaining normal blood sugar levels.  

Supports Brain Health

Nitrates help support brain health by improving blood flow to the brain. And, where can you get nitrates? You guessed it. Beetroots promote the dilation of blood vessels, so blood flow to the brain along with mental and cognitive function is maintained as you age.

Supports Weight Management

The combination of fiber, water, and low caloric count make beetroots the perfect food to support a healthy weight. Appetite is reduced, you feel fuller longer, and you get a host of healthful nutrients and almost no calories. As part of a balanced diet and regular exercise routine, beetroots can help you maintain a healthy weight. 

Supports Cellular Health and Function

There are trillions of cells in your body working constantly. Cells that get worn out are replaced, but this regeneration can become problematic if not controlled. The powerful plant compounds in the beetroot offer antioxidant properties that protect cells and promote healthy growth and function.

Beetroot powder in a clear plastic spoon

Negative Side Effects

With all the benefits mentioned, it may be hard to believe that there could be anything negative to say about beetroots. However, as with other plant foods, beetroots do contain oxalates, naturally occurring compounds that can produce negative side effects when present in large quantities. 

The body is capable of removing oxalates, and in most cases, the benefits of the nutrient-rich foods these are found in outweigh the potential risks. You shouldn’t remove oxalates completely from your diet, but because they bind to calcium as they leave the body, there can be a risk of kidney stones in some people. For those with kidney issues, a low-oxalate diet may be recommended by your doctor. 

The binding with calcium can also interfere with the body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients in the gut. Some oxalates are broken down in the gut, reducing how much passes through the body for excretion. This can increase the risk of oxalates building up in the body and further digestive disruptions.

A Potent Dose of Beetroot

Because nitric oxide is so important to heart health, and nitric oxide synthesis begins to slow as a part of normal aging, it is important to to maintain healthy nitric oxide production with supplementation as you age.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by eating beets. What if you don't like beets? Well, the answer is one scoop of 1MD Nutrition's new berry lemondae-flavored superfood drink mix, CardioFitMD™.

With just one scopp each day,  the highly concentrated beetroot powder helps promote nitric oxide production which is essential for arterial wall and platelet function, and healthy circulation. 

Encouraging this proper cardiovascular function, in turn, aids efficient energy production and supports stamina without caffeine or stimulants. You get additional whole-body support with the added broad-spectrum fiber and prebiotic blend, plus probiotics, and essential vitamins and minerals. All in one scoop. 

The Bottom Line

Some people call them beetroots. Others call them beets. The one thing everyone calls them is healthy. Beetroots contain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, nitrates, and powerful plant compounds that support your overall health. So, anyway you slice, mash, bake, juice, or saute them, when it comes to better health, beets just can’t be beaten!