Beets Nutrition Facts

Calories and Their Health Benefits

Picture of Beets
Diana Kehoe Photography/Moment/Getty Images.

Beets are a root vegetable, a relative to chard and spinach. Beet roots and beet greens are two parts of the beet, both of which can be consumed. The beet greens are considered a non-starchy vegetable and contain very little carbohydrate, whereas the beet bulb is starchier and therefore should be consumed in appropriate portions.

Beets are available all year with their peak season from March to October.

Beet roots are usually red-to-deep-purple in color, but there are also other varieties such as golden and white beets. The nutritional information in the label below is for red/purple beets.

Beets Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup raw slices (136 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 58 
Calories from Fat 1 
Total Fat 0.2g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 106mg4%
Potassium 442mg11%
Carbohydrates 13g5%
Dietary Fiber 3.8g15%
Sugars 9.2g 
Protein 2.2g 
Vitamin A 2% · Vitamin C 11%
Calcium 2% · Iron 8%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

One cup of raw beets contains about the same amount of calories and carbohydrate as one serving of fruit. If you are watching your carbohydrate intake, keep this in mind—depending on what your meal is composed of you may want to keep your portion to one serving at a time. 

Health Benefits of Beets 

Beets are a very good source of folate and manganese, and a good source of potassium and fiber.

Folate is important in DNA synthesis and preventing neural tube defects in pregnancy, while manganese is a component of antioxidant enzymes and helps break down glucose and proteins. Potassium may help to reduce blood pressure and fiber is important in digestive health. Fiber also helps to regulate blood sugars, increase feelings of fullness, and pulls cholesterol away from the heart and out of the body.

They also contain phytonutrients called betalains, which give them their purple hue and provide them with antioxidants, which may help to reduce inflammation in the body.

One particular study found that those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer. This is because of how the nitrates 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.

Common Questions About Beets 

Can I eat beets if I have diabetes?

Yes. Beets can be included in a low to moderate carbohydrate diet. The key to eating beets is to monitor your portion. A one cup serving of raw beets contains about 13 grams of carbohydrate, which is equivalent to eating about one slice of bread. In comparison, one cup of cooked beets contains about 17 grams of carbohydrate and 3.5 grams of fiber. Therefore, aim to keep your portion to about one serving.

If beets are the only source of carbohydrate at your meal, you might be able to eat two servings depending on your carbohydrate allotment for your meals. If you have diabetes, you can always use your glucose meter to see how your body responds to the sugar in beets.

Ideally, two hours after your meal your blood sugar should be less than 180 mg/dL, but discuss your personal goals with your physician.

Does your poop turn red when you eat beets?

The pigment in beets can leak into your bowels after eating them. If you are otherwise feeling healthy and notice a change in your urine or stool after consuming beets, you shouldn't worry. But, if you feel sick or the coloring does not change, contact your physician immediately, as changes in color of stool, especially red, can be an indicator of an internal issue.

Can I eat the leaves of beets?

Yes, you can and you should.

The leaves are a non-starchy vegetable that are rich in vitamin B6, vitamin K, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and antioxidants.

Picking and Storing Beets 

Choose beets that are small to medium sized that feel firm with smooth skin. Avoid beets with hairy root tips—these beets may be tough.

Look at the greens when choosing your beets. Fresh beets will have perky, crisp greens.

For best practice storage, store the greens and roots separately, cutting the greens an inch or two above where they attach to the root. Avoid washing beets until you are ready to use them and store in the refrigerator in an airtight plastic bag. The greens will keep for a few days, and the roots up to 2 to 3 weeks.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Beets

Beets are a versatile food that can be made is a variety of ways. Whether you are looking to warm up your meals in the winter or stay crisp in the spring and summer, you can use beets in your meal plan. Simply shave or grate them into salads, or roast, saute, steam, boil, or grill to compliment your meal. Use the bulb and the greens to get the full nutritional benefits and flavor of the beet.

Recipes for Beets 

From simply roasted to fancier dips, beets are a beautifully nutritious addition to any meal. Start your day off with a nutritious smoothie or add beats to your salad, for example.

Sources: 

Bailey, SJ. et. al. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Oct;107(4):1144-55. 

Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003: 634.

Lee CH, Wettasinghe M, Bolling BW et al. Betalains, phase II enzyme-inducing components from red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extracts. Nutr Cancer. 2005;53(1):91-103.

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