Can You Eat Raw Beetroot? (Benefits And Quantity)

Beetroot can be eaten cooked or raw. You can consume both the root (the purple fleshy part) and the leaves attached to it. Prolonged cooking and high heat when boiling or deep-frying can change the beetroot’s nutrient composition, notably decreasing the dietary nitrates and vitamins C and B they contain.

To get the maximum nutritional benefit, you should consider eating beetroots raw or only slightly cooked. 

When consuming raw beetroot, you’ll want to peel the outside skin off to reveal the center purple flesh. The only exception to this is if you’re juicing it, and in that case, you can leave the skin on. 

cutting raw beetroot
Yes, you can eat beets raw! 

After that, what you do with it is up to you! Consume it as is, or use it in a salad, a topping on your favorite dish, or blend it in a smoothie; there are so many delicious and nutritious recipes you can try. 

If you lack yummy ideas, try out any one of these 11 Best Beetroot Smoothie Recipes For Weight Loss.

Are Raw Veggies Really Healthier Than Cooked Ones?

vegetables in the bowl on the table

It is an excellent question, but the answer is not that simple because it depends on the vegetables, your dietary goals, and the cooking methods you use.

Although beetroot is most nutritious when eaten raw, cooking it can often improve its taste and texture, but it will somewhat change the nutritional content.

So, if you want to cook beetroot instead of eating it raw, then the best cooking method to retain the most nutrients includes roasting, steaming, and microwaving. 

Boiling, deep or shallow frying and pressure cooking eliminate many beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Also, your body absorbs and breaks down nutrients from cooked and raw vegetables in different ways.

So here are some general pros and cons of eating raw and cooked vegetables.

Examples of some of the foods best, when eaten raw or just lightly cooked:

  • Beets
  • Salad greens 
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Radish

Examples of foods best eaten cooked are: (But still fine to eat them raw if you want!)

  • Asparagus
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Artichokes
  • Green Beans
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Carrots
  • Some types of yams and sweet potatoes

Raw Vegetables Vs. Cooked Vegetables

raw vegetable sticks

1. Raw veggies are often higher in antioxidants that can protect against many ailments. Carotenoids are compounds that give many veggies their bright color; these include β-carotene and lutein found in red beetroot, beta-carotene found in carrots, lutein found in greens like spinach, lycopene found in tomatoes, and zeaxanthin found in peppers. These carotenoids are potent antioxidants that can protect you against various diseases and also enhance your immune system.

2. Cooking depletes vegetables of water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin C and B-complex vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, pyridoxine, and cyanocobalamin. If you eat your veggies raw, you will get more of these nutrients.

3. Raw vegetables have a lower glycemic index which means they do not cause significant blood sugar fluctuations as quickly after being eaten as cooked vegetables do. This is especially helpful for those trying to lose weight, but it can be beneficial to anyone, really!

4. Cooking usually reduces the risk of foodborne illness because germs are killed by heat during cooking.

7. Raw veggies may contain pesticide residues and natural toxins that interfere with the absorption of certain minerals, create inflammation, cause digestive discomfort, and lower resistance to disease-causing bacteria and viruses. These substances are often neutralized or minimized by cooking.

9. Raw veggies are harder to digest, so our body needs to use more energy to digest them than cooked vegetables. Cooking softens fiber so your body can extract more of the energy it needs from food rather than passing it through the intestines to be excreted. If you want to absorb fewer calories, you should consume more raw foods and cut down on cooked vegetables.

10. Cooking actually makes some foods more nutritious! Vitamin C, folate, and fiber absorption are all increased when veggies are cooked (especially green leafy vegetables). While heating food usually reduces minerals like magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron, cooking can increase the amount of calcium available to your body from about 6% to 20%. Cooking greens like kale enhances the absorption of vitamin A by up to five times, increasing its antioxidant effect.

11. Cooking allows for easier digestion of foods, especially when consumed with fats or in stew-like dishes which are digested more slowly.

Benefits Of Eating Raw Beets

raw beetroot nutrition facts

Let’s look at why you should eat raw beetroot in the first place. The health benefits of beets are usually one of the main factors people add them to their diet (aside from being natural food coloring and flavor they add to any dish).

What’s great about this vegetable is that it contains low calories and high fiber—making it the perfect food to eat when trying to manage your weight. 

One cup of beets alone can contain up to four grams of dietary fiber. This fiber also helps avoid unpleasant situations like constipation, hemorrhoids, and a myriad of other digestion issues. 

In addition to that, beets are also a good source of folate, potassium, vitamin A, C, folate (vitamin B9), iron, and magnesium. But what makes beetroot especially popular among the sports and fitness crowd are the nutrients it brings that can improve your cardiovascular performance and maximize your training activities. 

The reason why athletes are drawn to beets is because of the high inorganic nitrates this root vegetable contains. Consuming foods that are rich in inorganic nitrate can play a critical role in your blood pressure levels and cardiovascular health. [1]

When your body consumes inorganic nitrate, it converts it into Nitric Oxide. This opens up your blood vessels and allows blood to flow easily. 

Nitric Oxide is one of the most important molecules in our body. It promotes a healthier cardiovascular system and aids in better blood flow. 

It prevents atherosclerosis from developing or plaque build-up in your arteries. The increase in Nitric Oxide production allows athletes to perform at their best. This is why you can find beetroot included in many sports and nutrition supplements. 

How Many Beetroots Should You Eat a Day To Get That Benefit?

raw beetroot salad

Both raw and cooked beets can offer you the several benefits the purple fleshy root contains. Although cooking beets can decrease the dietary nitrate it contain, consuming them raw can provide you with more dietary nitrate. 

For you to experience the full benefits of beetroot, consuming about 5-7mmol is what’s recommended. One medium-size beetroot (110 g) has about 2.7 mmol of nitrate, which means that to meet your daily nitrates requirement, you would have to consume over two medium-sized beetroots a day. [2]

Consuming that much raw beetroot a day may be challenging to achieve for many people. However, drinking 600-700ml of beetroot juice could make it much easier to achieve the required amount of nitrates and experience the ergogenic effects it can offer. 

But if you are struggling even to drink the beetroot juice and still want the athletic performance boost, then the best thing would be to take a concentrated beetroot supplement like the one below.

BioBeet® Max Strength Beet Root Capsules - 21:1 Concentrate, Each Serving Derived from 28,350 mg Organic Beetroot - Absorption Enhancement with BioPerine® Black Pepper Extract (60 Capsules)

I must also note that the supplement above is enhanced with BioPerine (Piperine). Check out 3 Impactful Benefits Of Piperine that Everybody Ought To Know About!

However, if you are not after a noticeable boost in the gym, but rather a healthy diet, having beets several times a week or even every day as part of a balanced and diverse diet will help you reap the many benefits of this vegetable.

Ideas For Incorporating Raw Beets Into Your Diet 

This next section will go through some different ways to add raw beets into your diet. 

Juices And Smoothies

If you’re struggling with the idea of consuming beets every day or multiple times a week, a popular option is to add them into smoothies or juices. This, in a way, “hides” them, although the flavor can still be noticeable. 

If you are looking for fat-burning smoothies that are nutritious, delicious, and effective, then check out this beetroot smoothie recipe for weight loss blow. It is excellent for breakfast or any time of the day, helping ramp up your metabolism and putting your body into fat-burning mode. 

Additionally, beets will turn your drink into a bright pink or reddish-orange color, so they’re kind of hard to miss. However, adding them to smoothies or juices is an excellent way to consume them without actively thinking about it. 

Salad Toppings

Unlike cooked, raw beets add a distinctive crunch to the dish they’re in. They are great additions to salads to give them that extra texture. Shred them or dice them finely and put them in salads with goat cheese, walnuts, and a balsamic dressing for a fantastic flavor profile. 


You might read this and think, “Hey – soups are cooked!” and you would, in fact, be right in most cases. However, if you’re looking to maintain the most nutritious raw beet form, you can make gazpacho in a blender. This will create a soup that is delicious and chocked full of nutrients. 

Garnishes, Toppings, and More!

Aside from the ideas mentioned before, beets make an excellent garnish or topping to many dishes! You can add them to sandwiches, garnish soups (even cooked ones), and more. Try adding them to your favorite dishes for an extra crunch and a nutritional boost.

Side Effects of Eating Beets (Raw Or Cooked)

One thing to be aware of, though, is that, like asparagus, beets (cooked or uncooked) can change the color of your pee, known as beeturia. Don’t be alarmed if it has a pinkish color 24-72 hours after consuming a larger portion of beets or beetroot juice. [3]

What If I Hate Raw Beets? 

If you’re really not enthused about eating beets raw, don’t worry! It’s still highly nutritious to consume them cooked. While it’s not the “optimal” way to consume them, they’re still a nutrient-packed vegetable even once cooked. 

If you are concerned about losing too many of the benefits, look at how you are cooking the beets. 

Beets will lose the most nutrients when cooked at high temperatures or boiled in water. You can practically see the nutrients leave the beet as the water turns pinkish-red. Instead, try roasting or sauteing your beets to help retain more of the nutrients. 

However, if you’re totally against eating raw or even cooked beets, you can use beetroot powder instead and still reap all the amazing nutritional benefits. At the end of the day, the main goal should be consuming the vegetable in the first place regardless of what form it comes in. 

Check Out These 3 Awesome Beetroot Powder Benefits In The Video Below!

About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.