Beetroot Powder May Benefit Your Fitness Performance + Other Health Perks
While almost everyone can agree that beets have a vibrant (albeit, messy) hue, not everyone finds the taste or the texture quite as appealing. Even those who don't feel inclined to eat a whole beet can get the many health benefits—and possibly even more—with beetroot powder.
Most nutritionists recommend eating whole foods, but when it comes to beets, beetroot powder may be better (say that five times fast).
What is beetroot powder?
Beetroot powder is made from dehydrated beets, which have been blended or ground into a fine powder. "Any food in powdered form is going to be more concentrated," says Ginger Hultin, RDN, Seattle-based registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "The water has been removed, and it's been ground down, so you're taking in more than you would if you, say, ate a whole beet."
Generally, beetroot powder also contains more nitrates and antioxidants than fresh beets, she adds. Plus, you don't have to worry about washing, chopping, or staining your clothes with beet juice.
Benefits of beetroot powder:
1. May enhance athletic performance and recovery.
Beets and beet juice may support muscle recovery, meaning beetroot powder should, too.
These root vegetables are high in nitrates, which turns into nitrite and nitric oxide, registered dietitian Ella Davar, R.D., CDN, explains. These compounds support heart health by enhancing circulation and arterial function, which may promote cardiovascular fitness (aka keep you from wheezing while working out).
Studies suggest that breathing easily throughout a workout—thanks to beetroot supplementation—can enhance endurance and even athletic performance.
2. Helps manage inflammation.
"Fruits and vegetables are really the foundation of calming inflammation in the body, but beets have some unique compounds that specifically help support health in this way," Hultin says. Along with being rich in potassium, selenium, magnesium, iron, zinc, folate, and vitamin C, they also contain a healthy amount of antioxidants, she explains.
According to one study, beetroots contain about 30 different betalains, which are a type of antioxidant, that help fight free radicals and manage inflammation.
3. Supports brain health.
The same mechanisms in beetroots that enhance athletic performance also help to support the brain.
"Nitric oxide actually helps relax the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and helping blood flow more easily through the body," Hultin says, "and that includes fueling the brain with energy and oxygen."
When blood oxygen levels are out of whack (read: low), it can impair cognitive functioning and mental clarity. Incorporating beetroot powder into a regular diet may help keep these levels in check.
4. Helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
If the point hasn't been made clear yet, the nitrates in beetroots are really good for your health.
A 2018 scientific review, published in the journal Biomolecules, said the effects of nitric oxide from beetroots can lower systolic blood pressure in people with hypertension. It's also an easy-to-find, low-cost supplementation option for people with high blood pressure, the study adds. These benefits make it one of the healthiest carbs to eat, according to registered dietitian Nour Zibdeh, M.S., RDN.
5. May support liver health.
The antioxidants in beets, like betalains and anthocyanins, help to support the body's natural cleaning or detoxifying process. In other words, they can help flush out unwanted properties in the body, in the same way peeing can.
These antioxidants support detoxification (mainly in the liver) by increasing enzymes including glutathione and S-transferase, Davar tells mbg. "When the liver is able to detoxify chemicals and toxins more effectively, then your body is better able to balance your hormones, keep your cholesterol levels in check, and improve your energy levels," she adds.
How to use beetroot powder.
Figuring out how to use and where to find whole beets isn't too hard. You could juice, roast, pickle, or chop and freeze them for smoothies. When it comes to mealtime, turn them into beet pancakes, a beet salad, or a vegan beetroot curry. Whole beets can be found in most grocery stores' produce aisles year-round, but the cool-weather crops will be freshest in the spring or fall.
Beetroot powder on its own can usually be found in health food stores or drugstores and may also be an ingredient in other supplements, like mbg's organic veggies+ greens powder.
31 powerhouse ingredients in just 1 tablespoon*
According to Hultin, beetroot powder is easy to incorporate into liquid meals, like smoothies as soups. If you're not craving a smoothie, she recommends adding it to yogurt or cream cheese for a nutritious breakfast.
For something later in the day (and a bit more indulgent), she suggests adding it to baked goods. If you prefer drinks to desserts, beetroot powder or beetroot-containing supplements will also mix well into cocktails or mocktails.
Beetroot powder is an easy way to pack the concentrated benefits of beets, like enhanced athletic performance, blood pressure and inflammation management, and brain support, into one simple meal or drink.