August 18, 2022

5 Health Benefits of Beets

This ruby-red root is chock-full of vitamins, fiber and more

Sliced beets.

To the uninitiated, beets can be intimidating. They’re knobby, blood-red and give off a rich, earthy aroma. But it’s certainly worth the effort to get to know this nutritionally dense root vegetable.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

“Beets are unique for their cardiovascular and heart health benefits,” says registered dietitian Sarah Thomsen Ferreira, RD. “Due to a combination of compounds found in beets, they are able to enhance blood flow, improve the health of arteries, support lower homocysteine levels and reduce LDL cholesterol.”

And, with the right preparation, they can be surprisingly delicious!

Are beets healthy?

What makes beets such gems? It turns out that the same thing that makes these root vegetables so colorful also gives you plenty of nutrients. Beets get their jewel-like hue from betalains, a type of natural plant pigment that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Ready to start adding beets to your salad or soup? Here are some of the reasons why beets are a great addition to your plate:

Plenty of nutritional benefits

If you’re looking for something that’s low in calories but high in nutrients, look no further than the humble beet. Adding beets into your salads, soups and other daily meals can be a good way to enhance a balanced diet.

Plus — like other purple-colored fruits and veggies — beets are an excellent source of antioxidants. These natural compounds protect your cells from damage and may even lower the risk of diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Ongoing inflammation in the body is linked to several diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma and obesity. Luckily, beets have a number of anti-inflammatory benefits, thanks to their high content of betalains.

You can maximize getting all this goodness by consuming beets in juice form. Trust us, it’s tastier than you think.

Studies have shown that beet juice reduces inflammation across your whole body. One study in 2014 found that betalain capsules with beetroot extract helped relieve joint pain due to osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to know the full impact of betalain capsules on osteoarthritis.


High in fiber

Working beets into your diet is a great way to boost your fiber intake. Just one cup of beetroot contains 3.8 grams of fiber.

And the health benefits of fiber are plentiful. Fiber can help you control blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, lower your cholesterol and stay regular. Plus, a balanced diet of fiber could reduce your risk for conditions like colon cancer, heart disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).

High in nitrates

“Beets contain nitrates, which help to open blood vessels,” Thomsen Ferreira explains. “That can help with blood pressure and may also improve athletic performance and brain function.”

Research has shown that drinking beet juice before exercising will increase your cardiorespiratory endurance — allowing you to exercise for longer. This is because the nitrates found in beets are turned into nitric acid in your body, which in turn increases blood flow. This improves lung function and also strengthens muscle contraction.

The nitrates in beets are also to thank for helping lower blood pressure if you have hypertension, according to more research on this mighty vegetable. Indeed, beet juice has been shown in studies to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Plus, a nitrate-rich diet has also been linked to improved brain function. Because nitrates widen blood vessels, this allows for an increased flow of blood to the brain, which is beneficial to cognitive function.

Great source of potassium

“Beets — and beet greens — are a good source of potassium,” Thomsen Ferreira says. Potassium helps create more flexible blood vessels for lower blood pressure, adding another benefit for cardiovascular and heart health benefits. All of these are critical for good health — and all well-sourced from beets!

Beet benefits from their color

A healthy diet is a colorful diet. Different plant colors mean different plant nutrients. As mentioned, beets are one of the few sources of betalains, unique plant compounds that are found in a mini-rainbow of options.

  • Red and purple beets are especially high in a type of betalain called betacyanins.
  • Yellow or golden beets are packed with a different group of betalain, called betaxanthins. (FYI: Red beets can turn your urine red — if that freaks you out, these yellow or golden ones are your go-to beets!)
  • Beet greens are a deep, rich green — a sign they’re full of good stuff. “They’re a really terrific source of beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin for eye and vision health and definitely not something to be wasted,” Thomsen Ferreira says. Whether sautéed or tossed in a salad, think about ways to use the whole beet!

How to eat beets

Now you know why beets reign supreme, here are more ways you add them to your diet:

Crank your can opener

Canned beets are as easy as it gets. Slice them up for a salad with goat cheese and walnuts. Or blend them with hummus for a pretty pink dip. Plus, if you’re not a fan of the flavor of beets, blending them into a smoothie can help mellow it out if you mix it with other ingredients. Try to go for canned beets that don’t have added salt, either.


Preheat your oven

Roasting beets brings out their earthy-sweet goodness. Even better: Try slicing them into thin pieces and popping them in the oven to make crunchy beet chips.

Grab a glass

Beet juice doesn’t contain the fiber of whole beets. But juice can be a good way to kick up the beets if you’re using them for a brain boost or athletic enhancement, Thomsen Ferreira notes. Most grocery stores carry beet juice. You can even find powdered beet juice supplements in the fitness section of groceries or vitamin stores.

Do beets have a downside?

Before you start beet-loading, a word of caution: Beets are rich in oxalates, which can contribute to kidney stones. If you have kidney stones, it’s best to enjoy beetroots and beet greens in moderation.

For most healthy people, though, oxalates aren’t an issue. As part of a balanced, varied diet, you simply can’t beat beets.

Related Articles

Roasted Beets with Balsamic Vinegar and Herbs
December 4, 2023
Recipe: Roasted Beets With Balsamic Vinegar and Herbs

This colorful side dish will tantalize your taste buds

Person preparing pear to eat in a salad by slicing it lengthwise.
November 6, 2023
5 Health Benefits of Pears

They’re great for your gut, heart and blood sugar and may lower inflammation

A bowl of broccoli from above sitting on a blue marble countertop.
October 26, 2023
5 Health Benefits of Broccoli

These ‘tiny trees’ provide disease-fighting nutrients and may protect your gut

Pumpkin-spices in foreground with pumpkins and latte in background.
October 22, 2023
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Spice

It’s the flavor of fall, but it’s good to be wise about how you consume it

bowl of cooked asparagus
September 20, 2023
6 Health Benefits of Asparagus

Rich in fiber and folate, this veggie helps calm your gut and lower your blood pressure

chopped basil
September 19, 2023
5 Health Benefits of Basil

This herb not only helps prevent chronic diseases, but also elevates every meal

spoonful of cottage cheese
August 22, 2023
7 Reasons Why Cottage Cheese Is Good for You

This dairy product can help you lose weight, manage blood sugar and strengthen bones

Roasted carrots and brussel sprouts in a cast iron page on a wooden table.
June 27, 2023
A Little of This and That: Your Guide to the AIP Diet

The autoimmune protocol diet is designed to help identify inflammatory triggers

Trending Topics

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try

Exercise and diet over three months is hard to accomplish.
Everything You Need To Know About the 75 Hard Challenge

Following five critical rules daily for 75 days may not be sustainable

Person in foreground standing in front of many presents with person in background holding gift bags.
What Is Love Bombing?

This form of psychological and emotional abuse is often disguised as excessive flattery