Beets: Nutrition Facts of a Superfood

Updated: Jan 13

Beets have been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance. Many of these benefits are due to their high content of inorganic nitrates that may help to balance your nitric oxide pathways (1, 2, 3).

Packed with essential nutrients, beetroots are a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.

Vitamins and Minerals

Beetroots are a great source of many essential vitamins and minerals.

  • Folate (vitamin B9) One of the B vitamins, folate is important for normal tissue growth and cell function. It’s particularly necessary for pregnant women (4, 5).

  • Manganese. An essential trace element, manganese is found in high amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Potassium. A diet high in potassium can lead to reduced blood pressure levels and positive effects on heart health (6).

  • Iron. An essential mineral, iron has many important functions in your body. It’s necessary for the transport of oxygen in red blood cells.

  • Vitamin C. This well-known vitamin is an antioxidant that is important for immune function and skin health (7, 8).

Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) is a root vegetable that is a great source of vitamins and minerals such as folate, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C.


Beetroots are high in fiber, providing about 2–3 grams in each 3/4-cup (100-gram) raw serving. Dietary fiber is important as part of a healthy diet and linked to a reduced risk of various diseases.

Other Plant Compounds

Plant compounds are natural plant substances, some of which may aid health.

The main plant compounds in beetroots are:

  • Betanin. Also called beetroot red, betanin is the most common pigment in beetroots, responsible for their strong red color. It is believed to have various health benefits (9).

  • Beets are a source of Inorganic nitrate. Found in generous amounts inleafy green vegetables, beetroots, and beetroot juice, inorganic nitrate turns into nitric oxide in your body and has many important functions(10,11,12)

  • Vulgaxanthin. A yellow or orange pigment found in beetroots and yellow beets.

Beetroots are high in several beneficial plant compounds, especially betanin, vulgaxanthin and inorganic nitrates. These compounds may help with lowering blood pressure, improving oxygen use, stamina and exercise performance.

Increased Exercise Capacity

Numerous studies suggest that nitrates can enhance physical performance, particularly during high-intensity endurance exercise.

Dietary nitrates have been shown to reduce oxygen use during physical exercise by affecting the efficiency of mitochondria, the cell organs responsible for producing energy (13). Beets and their juice are often used for this purpose because of their high inorganic nitrate content.

Consumption of beetroots may improve running and cycling performance, increase stamina, boost oxygen use, and lead to better exercise performance overall (14, 15 16,17).

Beetroot supplementation is beneficial in many ways, and has many positive impacts on inflammation, oxidative stress, cognition and endothelial function. I recommend that my patients add it in to their diet regimen 2-3 times per week, and more if they have a higher athletic lifestyle.

By: Dr. Leila Doolittle

Published on March 30, 2020

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