Is Beetroot Powder Good For Your Health?
I see a lot of claims for the benefits of beetroot powder. Is worth supplementing with it?
Andrew Weil, M.D. | July 5, 2021
Possibly — but it depends on why you’re using it. Beetroot (or beet) powder is made from beets (Beta vulgaris) that have been dried and then pulverized. You can mix it with water or add it to smoothies, sauces, soups, and other edibles. Beet powder, as well as beet juice, is becoming popular as a supplement and is often marketed as a “superfood” due to its nutrient content.
Beets are rich in vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and fiber. They also contain betalains, a class of plant pigments that account for their red, violet, and orange hues and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, beets are a good dietary source of nitrates, compounds that have been shown to help dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Most of the research on beets, beet powder, and beetroot juice has involved their effects on cardiovascular health. For example, one study of 68 people with high blood pressure found that drinking 250 mL of beetroot juice every day for four weeks was associated with significant reductions in blood pressure, likely because of the nitrates in it.
Another study looked at the effects of beetroot juice on 24 people with peripheral artery disease (PAD) and intermittent claudication, conditions in which arteries in the legs become narrowed, leading to pain when walking. All of the patients participated in a supervised exercise program, but half consumed beetroot juice about three hours prior to each exercise session. After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the volunteers who drank beetroot juice had a three-fold greater improvement in the length of time they could walk, compared to those didn’t drink the juice.
Other research suggests additional benefits for beets and products made from them. A 2019 study found that experienced cyclists who drank beetroot juice improved their time trial results. And a review that same year concluded that the betalains found in beets may help disrupt the growth of cancer cells — at least in the lab.
Although more research is needed to confirm the health effects of beet powder, juice, and other products, they appear to be safe when consumed as directed. If you’re using beet powder to treat high blood pressure, PAD, or cardiovascular disease, check with your physician in case your dose of medication needs to be adjusted. One caveat to keep in mind: Beets and beet products can turn your urine and bowel movements pink or red — a startling but harmless side effect.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Parvin Mirmiran et al, “Functional properties of beetroot (Beta vulgaris) in management of cardio-metabolic diseases,” Nutr Metab, January 7, 2020 doi: 10.1186/s12986-019-0421-0