Beets are a root vegetable and a relative to chard and spinach. But unlike chard and spinach, we consume both the beetroot and the beet greens. Each part of the beet plant has its own nutritional profile. The beet greens are considered a non-starchy vegetable and contain very little carbohydrate, whereas the beet bulb is starchier and therefore higher in carbs (but also fiber). Each part of the vegetable contains some different vitamins and minerals.
Beet Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (136g) of raw red beetroot.
- Calories: 58
- Fat: 0.2g
- Sodium: 106mg
- Carbohydrates: 13g
- Fiber: 3.8g
- Sugars: 9.2g
- Protein: 2.2g
The beet's leaves offer the same nutritional value as other dark leafy greens, such as chard and spinach: They're very low in carbohydrates and packed with many useful vitamins and minerals. But beetroot also have a lot to offer.
Beets contain phytonutrients called betalains, which give them their reddish-purple hue and provide them with antioxidants. These compounds help to reduce inflammation in the body and fight cell damage.
A research analysis found that those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise longer, showing increased cardiorespiratory endurance. This is because of how the nitrates in beets turn into nitric acid, a process that may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
Reduce Blood Pressure
Beetroot juice has also been shown to help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Again, it is the nitrates in beets that seem to be responsible for this beneficial effect.
Improve Cognitive Function
A study of older adults concluded that a diet high in nitrates may also help improve blood flow to the brain, which boosts cognitive health and functioning. Another study of people with type 2 diabetes, published in 2014, showed an increase in reaction time (an indicator of cognitive performance) in people who consumed beet juice.
Beets are likely safe when consumed in amounts typically served in meals, as allergic reactions to beets are very rare