Yes, it is perfectly safe and healthy to eat beets when they are raw. They are rich in certain nutrients and can actually help to bring you some great health benefits, as well as being very tasty.
If you’re wondering what beets are, you might more commonly know them as beetroots. Whilst it is okay to eat beets raw, your body might find the vegetable harder to digest when consumed in their uncooked form and so many people find that their urine takes on a pink or red colour after eating them. Furthermore, if you have suffered with kidney problems in the past and are vulnerable to kidney illness, then beets could pose a potential threat as they could lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Beets usually come with the skin on, and it is perfectly safe to eat them this way. However, if you’re eating beets raw then you will probably find the vegetable to be much tastier by removing the skin.
Benefits of Eating Raw Beets
You will be pleased to know that there are actually a wide range of health benefits that eating raw beets can bring you. Listed below of some of these positive impacts.
- Lowers Blood Pressure
One of the biggest benefits of eating raw beets is that it can help to control and lower your blood pressure. It’s been found that it can actually significantly reduce your blood pressure in only a matter of hours, and that this effect is more profound in raw beets than cooked beets. So, if you have any concerns over your blood pressure or overall heart health, raw beetroot could be the right thing for you!
- Rich in Nutrients
Another benefit of eating beets, in both their raw and cooked form, is that they contain a huge amount of great nutrients. So, for example, beats contain a lot of vitamin C, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Our body needs vitamin C for the support, growth and repair of our bodily tissues, and also to help the building and maintenance of our bones. Unfortunately, our body cannot naturally produce vitamin C, and so instead we need to acquire the essential nutrient from our diet. Therefore, the high content of vitamin C in beets make it a great source for the vitamin.
- Contain More Antioxidants than Cooked Beets
Something that makes raw beets to sometimes be preferred over cooked beets, is that raw beets contain more antioxidants.
Free radicals are molecules that increase the risk in issues such as cancer and heart disease, shown in studies. Antioxidants are able to protect your body from these harmful free radicals, and in addition can help to boost your immune system. So, having beets, and therefore increasing your antioxidant intake, can help to protect your body from some very harmful illnesses.
- Can Aid Weight-Loss
Another great benefit of eating raw beets is that they can help people to achieve their weight loss goals.
One of the reasons that beets are so good for this, is because they are high in fibre. Fibre helps to make you feel fuller quicker, which in turn helps to reduce your appetite and therefore make you likely to consume fewer calories.
Furthermore, beets are mainly made of water and so have a very low-calorie content. Therefore, they are a great food for people to eat if they are on a diet and wanting to consume fewer calories without going hungry.
Roasted beet salad with radicchio and feta cheese makes a great addition to a meal!
- Brings Benefit to Your Brain
Something else that beets can do, is they can help to bring certain benefits to your brain. For example, beets have shown to increase an individual’s energy levels, which is something that is great for helping people to focus more, and to also improve mental health.
Additionally, beets are rich in nitrates which have shown to help promote good cognitive function by stimulating blood flow to the parts of the brain that are responsible for memory and decision-making. This ability of beets has also led it to be shown to help reduce an individual’s risk of experiencing neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia.
Possible Side Effects
Whilst there are some great benefits of eating raw beets, there are some potential negative side effects that you might also experience.
For example, as already briefly mentioned, your urine might take on a pink colour due to your body finding it difficult to break down the red pigment that is found in beets. This, however, isn’t anything that can bring you harm so is no cause for concern.
Many also find that beets make them poop a lot, and the vegetable is actually often recommended as a way to relieve constipation. This is due to the fact that beets contain a lot of fibre, which is a substance which helps to make the movement of food through your digestive system to flow better, and hence makes you need the toilet a lot more! Furthermore, in addition to experiencing red urine, you might also find that your poop looks a little red too!
Another potential risk that beets might bring, is it could cause kidney stones to form, particularly in individuals who are more vulnerable to kidney issues. This is because beets contain a lot of oxalates, which are compounds that, when found in excess, is suspected to the formation of kidney stones. Therefore, those who have experienced kidney problems in the past should avoid eating beets, in either their raw or cooked form.
So, beets are something that are completely safe when eaten raw, however those who are at risk of kidney issues should try to avoid them. In terms of whether it is better to eat beets raw or cooked, it has actually been shown that raw beets contain more nutrients than cooked beets, and so therefore eating beets raw can bring you a wider range of health benefits. However, if you don’t like the taste of raw beets, then slightly roasting them instead is a great way to cook them whilst still retaining the majority of their nutritional content.