Pickled beets are a convenient alternative to fresh beets.
They’re rich in nutrients and offer many of the same health benefits as their fresh counterparts but have a much longer shelf life.
However, pickled beets can also be high in salt and sugar, so you may wonder whether they’re truly good for you.
This article discusses the pros and cons of eating pickled beets.
Beets are a root vegetable that’s often pickled.
- Calories: 65
- Protein: less than 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 16 grams
- Sugar: 11 grams
- Fiber: less than 1 gram
- Copper: 13% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Manganese: 10% of the DV
- Folate: 7% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 4% of the DV
- Magnesium: 4% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 3% of the DV
- Pantothenic acid: 3% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 3% of the DV
- Choline: 3% of the DV
They’re especially rich in natural sugars, copper, folate, and manganese. These nutrients help boost your energy levels, make DNA, regulate your immune system, and build and repair tissues and bones (3, 4, 5).
Packed with beneficial compounds
In fact, beetroot is considered one of the 10 plants with the highest antioxidant activity. They’re especially rich in betalains and betanins, two polyphenols that give this veggie its deep red color (6).
Pickled beets made via fermentation or the addition of raw, unpasteurized vinegar also contain probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria linked to improved immune function, as well as better heart and digestive health (14).
These types of pickled beets are difficult to find in most grocery stores, so you can either make your own or look for them at farmers markets.
Beets are particularly rich in natural sugars, copper, folate, and manganese — nutrients that are needed for numerous bodily processes. They also boast antioxidants.
Pickled beets are linked to certain health benefits.
May boost heart health
Pickled beets are naturally rich in nitrates, which your body converts into nitric oxide. This molecule helps blood vessels dilate, which protects against high blood pressure (
Research suggests that beet products can lower blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg. However, this effect likely only lasts a few hours, so you need to eat nitrate rich-foods regularly to prolong this effect (
May improve digestion
In pickled beets made through natural fermentation, the healthy bacteria on beets’ skin break down their sugars over several days.
Probiotics may also protect against toxins and harmful bacteria, as well as reduce gas, constipation, and bloating. What’s more, they may relieve symptoms of gut disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease (
May improve physical performance
The nitrates in pickled beets may improve athletic ability by boosting your muscles’ power and performance (
However, these effects appear strongest in untrained individuals and are typically observed with beetroot juice, not pickled beets. It’s unclear how many pickled beets you’d have to eat to see the same effects.
May regulate your blood sugar levels
Pickled beets may lower your blood sugar levels.
Experts believe that beets’ nitrates and antioxidants also keep blood sugar levels in check (
What’s more, none of these studies examined the direct effect of pickled beets on blood sugar and insulin levels. Therefore, more research is needed.
Pickled beets may improve digestion, physical performance, and heart health, as well as lower blood sugar and insulin levels.
Research links excess sugar and salt intake to poor health and an increased risk of illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it’s best to read labels carefully and pick varieties with little or no added sugar or salt, whenever possible (
Though pickled beets may turn your urine pink or red, this side effect is harmless (
Some varieties of pickled beets may harbor large amounts of added sugars or salts, so it’s best to check ingredient lists. These types are best avoided.
Pickled beets are popular on salads or as a side or snack.
These naturally sweet root veggies may have a number of health benefits, including improved digestion, physical performance, blood sugar levels, and heart health.
However, you should avoid varieties with high levels of added salt or sugar. To reap the greatest benefits, choose those made via natural fermentation or with raw, unpasteurized vinegar.