Beets Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Beets

beet nutrition facts and health benefits

Photo: Alexandra Shytsman

Beets are a root vegetable, a relative to chard and spinach. Beetroots 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, particularly for people with diabetes.

Beetroots 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.

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

Carbs in Beets

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. 

The carbohydrate in beets comes from both naturally occurring sugar (9.2 grams per serving) and dietary fiber (just under four grams).

Fiber helps to regulate blood sugars, increases feelings of fullness, and pulls cholesterol away from the heart and out of the body.There is very little starch in beets

The estimated glycemic index of beets is estimated to be 64, making it a high glycemic food.

Fats in Beets

There is almost no fat in a single serving of beets.

The small amount of fat is polyunsaturated fat, which is a considered to be a healthy fat. Keep in mind that your preparation method may add fat to beets. If you roast beets using olive oil, for example, you'll consume more fat.

Protein in Beets

Beets are not a high protein food, but you will get a small boost of the important macronutrient when you consume a single serving of beets. Each cup provides just over two grams.

Micronutrients in Beets

Beets are a very good source of folate and manganese and a good source of potassium and fiber. Folate is important for 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. 

Health Benefits 

Beets 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

Can you eat beets if you 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 the color of stool, especially red, can be an indicator of an internal issue.

Can you eat the leaves of beets? 

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

When are beets in season?

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

How do I choose and store 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.

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.

Recipes and Preparation Tips 

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.

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. If you want to try them in a main dish, try these beet and farro burgersGrilled beets with balsamic glaze make a great side dish, and this beet and walnut dip is a tasty alternative to hummus or ​guacamole.

Allergies and Interactions

According to the Natural Medicines Database, beets are likely safe when consumed in amounts typically served in meals. There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements. Furthermore, it is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.

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Article 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. doi:10.1016/s0162-0908(10)79661-6 

  • Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle 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.