What Are the Health Benefits of Pickled Beets?

Pickling preserves the freshness of beets so you can enjoy the goodness of this tasty root vegetable anytime. A serving of pickled beets provides a low-fat source of energy with valuable nutrients and fiber. Adding them to your diet will give you all the health benefits of beets including important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that may help you lose weight, protect your bones, regulate your blood pressure and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

By eating pickled beets, you'll get all the health benefits of beets in a convenient preserved form.. (Image: jeangill/E+/GettyImages)

Tip

Eating pickled beets helps ensure you get all the antioxidant benefits from betacyanins, flavonoids and nitric oxide, not to mention the rich source of nutrients, especially vitamin C, manganese and B vitamins.

Low in Calories, Fat and Protein

Pickled beets offer the same health benefits of beets, but there may be some differences between commercially-canned brands in terms of added sugar and salt. With only 74 calories in a half cup of sliced pickled beets, it has practically no fat and no cholesterol. Pickled beets do not offer a significant amount of protein with less than a gram per half-cup serving.

Pickled Beets Provide Energy

Moderately high in carbohydrates with 19 grams per half cup, pickled beets help fuel your brain, heart, nervous system and kidneys. If you are an athlete, carbohydrates can enhance your training capacity. The British Journal of Sports Medicine recommends consuming 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour while exercising to maintain blood glucose levels.

Pickled beets contain 13 grams of sugar per half cup. Unlike table sugar, the sugar in pickled beets is in the form of complex carbohydrates that provide a steadier blood sugar level to sustain energy. The Heart and Stroke Association says that foods that naturally contain sugar, such as beets, should be included in a healthy diet in reasonable quantities.

If you're worried about consuming too much sugar from pickled beets, their vinegar content may help you control your blood sugar, as evidenced in a study published in Diabetes Research and Clinic Practice in 2017. Findings suggest that vinegar can effectively reduce glucose and insulin levels after eating, concluding it may be useful for improving glycemic control.

Pickled Beets and Weight Loss

With their low calorie count, pickled beets can fit right into your weight-loss program. Pickled beets are composed of 82 percent water to help keep you hydrated and feeling full. Benefits of pickled beets include their fiber content that contributes to maintaining a well-functioning digestive tract by adding bulk to your stool and keeping you regular.

In addition, fiber makes your stomach feel full longer because it digests slowly. Fiber has a satiety facto_r that may prevent you from overeating or snacking, which can be beneficial in reducing overall calories to lose weight. A randomized trial, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2015, suggests that eating _30 grams of fiber each day can help with weight loss.

An added bonus of the dietary fiber in pickled beets is that fiber can help improve your blood cholesterol level and lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and even type 2 diabetes, according to American Heart Association.

B Vitamins for Your Brain

Pickled beets are a good source of B vitamins, including niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, folate, thiamine and B6. The B vitamins are absolutely essential for every aspect of brain function, including energy production, DNA/RNA synthesis and repair, regulation of genes, and synthesis of numerous signaling molecules.

A review published in Nutrients in 2016 writes that the B vitamins are important for brain function partly because they are transported across the blood brain barrier where they carry out their active role in neurochemical synthesis.

Improved Bone Density

Eating pickled beets is good for your bones. Pickled beets contain nutrients that contribute to increased bone density throughout your entire skeletal system. The calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, iron and zinc — all provided by a serving of pickled beets — are needed to help build the structural platform for bone formation and growth, according to American Bone Health.

Hold the Salt

Pickled beets contain 169 milligrams of sodium per half-cup of canned sliced beets. Sodium, regulated by your kidneys, helps control your body's fluid balance and plays a role in sending nerve impulses and maintaining muscle function.

However, too much sodium in your bloodstream pulls water into your blood vessels, expanding their volume. More blood flow increases blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure may injure blood vessel walls, forcing your heart to work harder. And, the extra water in your body can lead to bloating and weight gain.

Reducing your salt intake can help lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, stomach cancer, osteoporosis and even headaches, according to the American Heart Association. Dietary Guidelines recommends limiting your sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day.

Pickled Beets Control Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to heart disease. Pickled beets contain minerals that are known to be beneficial to blood pressure management, namely potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Potassium is required for muscle function. By relaxing the walls of your blood vessels, potassium in pickled beets may help in the regulation of blood pressure. Potassium also plays a role in managing electrical signalling in your nervous system to regulate your heartbeat, says Harvard Health. Pickled beets contain 131 milligrams of potassium per half cup.

Calcium helps your blood clot and keeps your heart functioning properly. Pickled beets provide 12 milligrams of calcium per half cup. Calcium helps muscles contract, which supports blood vessels tightening and relaxing as needed for blood pressure control.

Magnesium in pickled beets also assists with muscle and nerve function and helps blood vessels relax. Pickled beets provide 17 milligrams per half cup of magnesium. The magnesium is required for the transport of calcium and potassium needed to maintain regular blood pressure.

Antioxidants in Pickled Beets

Pickled beets are a rich source of antioxidant compounds that help protect your body from damage from harmful reactive oxygen molecules called free radicals. These beneficial antioxidants include vitamin C, A and E, selenium and flavonoids. HealthLinkBC says antioxidants may play a role in managing or preventing some cancers, macular degeneration, some arthritis-related conditions and Alzheimer's disease.

The mineral folate in pickled beets is known to boost a peptide, called glutathione, in your body. Glutathione is an antioxidant that plays a crucial role in promoting a strong immune system, which can help keep your body disease-free. In addition, vitamin C in pickled beets helps raise glutathione in red blood cells.

Pickled beets contain 30 different betalains, which display strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Betalains have been shown to protect against oxidative stress for the management of inflammation in lung, skin and liver cancer cells, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Nutrients. Evidence also suggests that betalains destroy colon cancer cells and breast cancer cells.

Nitric Oxide for Your Heart

Pickled beets may help in the prevention of heart disease due to their content of natural nitrates, which are a precursor of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is involved in the regulation of blood flow, muscle contraction and respiration in your body.

A review published in Nutrients in 2015 reported that beets help keep nitric oxide supply adequate, which may reduce blood pressure, decrease inflammation, avert oxidative stress and preserve endothelial function. Endothelium is the cell lining of blood vessels and requires nitrate oxide to function properly. The study concluded that beets may be a powerful dietary source of health-promoting agents with therapeutic potential in the treatment and management of cardiovascular disease.

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