Can You Eat Beets Raw?
All parts of fresh beets can be eaten raw, according to the University of Illinois. This includes the leaves and stems, which are usually discarded. The main part of the beet that's eaten raw is the bulb. The skin is edible, so you can choose to eat or peel it.
The Health Benefits of Raw Beets
Beets have many benefits. They're full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, fiber, nitrates, vitamins and minerals, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Here's what they have to offer.
1. Raw Beet Juice May Help Improve Blood Pressure
"Raw beets may improve blood pressure, thanks to their nitrates," explains registered dietitian Justine Chan, MHSc, RD, CDE. "Nitrates convert into nitric oxide in your body, which opens up your blood vessels and lowers blood pressure."
2. Beet Juice May Help Increase Athletic Endurance
Beetroot juice and even beet powder have become increasingly popular among athletes because they can help with athletic endurance and performance.
"Beets can help to increase the blood flow and oxygen that's delivered to muscles during exercise," Chan says. "It's no surprise that beetroot juice may improve your athletic performance as a result."
3. Beet Juice Can Help With Muscle Soreness and Recovery
What you eat and drink after your workout is also important. Post-exercise nutrition can help with muscle recovery.
4. Raw Beets Are Linked to Lower Rates of Cancer
The bright pigment â€” betalain â€” responsible for beet's red hue may also lend it some of its health benefits. Specifically, betalains possess antioxidant activity.
"Betalains in beets act as powerful antioxidants and exert antitumor activity," Stuart says. "Beet juice shows chemo-preventive activity, preventing the growth of cancerous cells and reducing overall inflammation."
While there are many benefits of raw beets, people who are prone to kidney stones should eat them in moderation. That's because beets are high in oxalates, which can contribute to kidney stones, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
How to Eat Raw Beets
We asked registered dietitians the best way to eat raw beets. Here's what they suggest:
- Drink raw beetroot juice
- Snack on thinly sliced beets
- Spiralize them in Buddha bowls or noodle dishes
- Add beets to smoothies
- Use the beet greens in bowls or salads
- Julienne raw beets for spring rolls
- Shred them into a slaw
- Incorporate as a sandwich filling
- Chop them into jar salads