Often called a superfood, beetroot is a jewel-colored root vegetable enriched with essential nutrients. It is a popular ingredient in many healthy foods, including salads and juices. Beets also serve as a garnisher for various food dishes or drinks.
Most people think of beetroot as a healthy vegetable. And they are not wrong at all. Research suggests that beetroot does indeed have some health benefits. 
However, as beetroot tastes sweet and earthy, one may wonder if it can raise blood sugar levels or is suitable for a diabetic patient. But fear not—beets are not totally off-limits. Here is a quick overview of the health benefits of eating beetroots and how diabetic individuals can enjoy them.
Nutrition Profile of Beetroot
Beetroot is a nutritional powerhouse packed with powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals. Nutritionists often recommend it as a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Beetroot has a relatively low fat and calorie content. One cup (136 grams) of raw beets contains less than 60 calories and very little fat (0.2 grams).  The below pie chart shows the nutritional contents of raw beetroot.
Health Benefits of Eating Beetroot
Beetroot is a healthy food choice as it is high in soluble fiber and folate.
Beetroot contains many vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin A, E, C, and K, vitamin B complex, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium, to name a few. These nutrients are essential for maintaining good health.
Beets are rich in potent antioxidants and phytochemicals linked to health benefits. They have an abundance of antioxidants like rutin, caffeic acid, betalain, and epicatechin. These substances help protect our bodies against cell damage and lower the risk of various chronic diseases. The phytochemicals present in beetroots influence how our bodies process glucose and insulin. , 
The nitrates in beets have a range of health benefits, including keeping our blood vessels healthy and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. 
Because of the high betalains and nitrate content, beetroot may also help suppress inflammation by removing harmful substances from the bloodstream.
In short, beetroot can help lower blood pressure, improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and increase exercise performance. These effects may promote heart health and help prevent diabetes.
Will Beetroot Spike my Blood Sugar?
Diabetic people may wonder if beetroot is a good choice for them. After all, the only concern is how it will affect their blood sugar levels.
The good news is that beetroot is a low-glycemic food. The glycemic index (GI) rating of raw beetroot is 61, and the glycemic load (GL) is only 5. The GI rating means that beets are a medium GI food, while the low GL load suggests that it won’t cause a sudden spike in blood glucose levels. 
Furthermore, research has shown that beetroot can help diabetic and healthy individuals to lower their blood sugar levels. One study published in 2014 found that beetroot juice lowered blood sugar levels in healthy adults. In this study, the participants significantly reduced their post-meal glucose levels by drinking less than half a cup of beet juice. 
Another study looked at the effects of beetroot powder on people with type 2 diabetes. The participants took a beetroot supplement three times a day for four weeks. The study found that those who took the beetroot supplement had lower blood sugar levels and better blood pressure control than those who took the placebo. 
So, diabetic individuals can rest assured that beetroot is a safe and healthy option for them. Not only will it not raise their blood sugar levels, but it may even help to lower them!
Can I Eat Beetroot if I have Diabetes?
Eating beetroot poses no known risks to diabetic individuals. In fact, they should include beets as part of their diet.
As stated above, beets are a low-calorie vegetable with a medium GI rating and low GL. Beetroot is also a good source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium. So, adding beetroot to a diet can help lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar control.
However, diabetic patients should keep track of the carbs they consume. They should aim for 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal.
A medium-sized beetroot has about 6 grams of carbs.
People with diabetes should talk with their healthcare provider or registered dietitian before they add beetroot to their diet. A dietitian can help them to create a meal plan that fits their needs.
On the other hand, beetroot may interact with certain medications used to treat diabetes, so they also need a green light from the doctor.
Recommended Diabetic-friendly Beets Recipes
There are many delicious ways to prepare beetroot. For example, you can roast, sauté, or even juice them.
Below are some recommended recipes for diabetics that include beetroot as an ingredient:
- Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese: This dish is healthy and flavorful. Roast the beets until they are tender. After that, top them with a creamy goat cheese dressing.
- Sautéed Beet Greens: This recipe includes the whole beet plant by sautéing the greens with the roots. The final result will be a healthy and delicious side dish.
- Beet Juice: This simple juice recipe calls for just three ingredients: beets, carrots, and apples. Juicing is a great way to enjoy the nutrients in beetroot if one does not like eating the actual vegetable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Beetroot Good for Weight Loss?
Some people claim that beetroot can help obese people in losing weight. But, to date, there is little scientific data to back this up.
Beetroot is a good source of soluble fiber and provides about 3–4 grams of dietary fiber per 1 cup (136 g) raw serving.  So, we can say that the fiber content in beets may help to improve digestion and prevent constipation.
Also, as beets are low in calories and fat, they will surely help obese people to cut down on carbs if added to their diet.
There is no recommended dose of beetroot for weight loss. However, adding a few ounces of fresh or cooked beetroot to our diet daily might help us reach our goals. If someone does not like the taste of beetroot, they can also take it in supplement form.
Are There any Side Effects of Beetroot?
While beetroot is a healthy food with many nutrients, it may cause some side effects. But, except for those with kidney problems, most people typically tolerate beetroots well.
Often, beeturia is the only side effect that comes with eating beets. It is a condition that can cause red or pink urine after eating beets. It’s harmless and usually subsides on its own. But if one is unaware of it, it can be a little unsettling and mistaken for blood. 
Another potential side effect of eating beets is an upset stomach or diarrhea. A likely reason for this is the fructan content of beetroots, which are FODMAPs that feed on our gut bacteria and can cause stomach upset in sensitive people.  Also, digestive upset often happens when someone consumes beets in large quantities on an empty stomach. If this happens, one should do the following:
- Try cutting back on the amount they’re eating or drinking.
- Eat other foods along with the beets to help slow down their absorption.
Eating too many beetroots can drop our blood pressure.  This drop isn’t usually a cause for concern unless it causes dizziness or fainting. But, if this happens, one should stop eating the beets and see if the symptoms subside.
Beetroots are high in oxalates, which are an antinutrient. So, they may prevent the body from absorbing certain micronutrients. Once consumed, oxalate can lead to kidney stone formation by binding with minerals in the gut. 
What to do If I Overeat Beetroot with Diabetes?
If someone overeats beetroot, there are things they can do to help control their blood sugar levels:
- Drink plenty of water. This action will help flush out the excess sugar from your system.
- Get some exercise. Physical activity can help to lower the raised blood sugar levels.
- Closely monitor blood sugar levels. One may need to check their blood sugar more often than usual for a few days after overeating beetroot.
Overall, beetroot is a healthy food that most people enjoy without problems. It is also low on the glycemic index, which makes it a good choice for diabetic individuals.
However, people with diabetes may need to limit how much beetroot they eat. That’s because it contains carbohydrates, and eating too many of them can raise blood sugar levels.
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Official staff of Sinocare.
Note: All information on Sinocare blog articles is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.