What is Beetroot?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Also known as the garden beet, the beetroot is a sweet, maroon root vegetable. It is a healthy, low-calorie food filled with fiber. It is known to help improve health conditions such as high blood pressure. The leaves of the red beet can also be eaten.

Beetroot has a rich, maroon color and is known for its sweet flavor.
Beetroot has a rich, maroon color and is known for its sweet flavor.

Beets can be consumed in a variety of ways. If consumed raw, beets should first be peeled. The top and bottom of the root should also be removed prior to ingesting. Beets can also be boiled, sautéed, pickled, fried, juiced, steamed, pureed, grilled, or baked. When cooking beets, the skin may be left on until it is loose enough to fall off, retaining the vegetable's vivid color.

Pickling is a popular way to eat beetroot.
Pickling is a popular way to eat beetroot.

Soups made from beets, such as cold borsch, are popular in Europe. Pickled beets are a typical way of serving the plant; these are often served on hamburgers in Australia and New Zealand. Juices from the pickled vegetables are often used to prepare other dishes, such as hardboiled eggs, as well. Another common way of serving the vegetable is as a side dish or salad component.

Beetroot can help treat high blood pressure.
Beetroot can help treat high blood pressure.

The healthy table beet can promote cardiovascular health. Eating beets is often suggested as part of a low-fat diet to help prevent heart disease. A single serving of beetroot contains only 36 calories. In addition to fiber, the vegetable provides a good source of folate and potassium. Its leaves are also considered a good source of nutrients, such as iron and calcium.

Bulbus red beets are known for the antioxidant beta-carotene. The presence of this free radical-fighting component has caused some scientists to use beets in cancer treatment programs. The medicinal plant is also used to treat many other illnesses, such as problems with digestion, kidney and liver disorders, and constipation. Circulation problems and anemia may also be treated with it.

Canned beets are generally considered to have an inferior taste to fresh beets. Beetroot can be grown at home by planting seeds following the last frost of the spring. The plants require sparse, weekly watering during the majority of the season, with daily moisture provided on hot days.

Caution should be used when preparing beetroot. The colorful pigmentation of the vegetable can stain clothing. If consumed in large quantities, the vegetable can also cause discoloration, typically in a shade of pink, of the urine. This light sensitive vegetable will also turn colors when cut and exposed to light.

Eating beats may help prevent heart disease.
Eating beats may help prevent heart disease.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments


What does beetroot look like?


I don't mind eating beets, but I am the only one in my family who likes them. I think I would like to try some pickled beets. This sounds like it would add some good crunch and flavor to a hamburger.

I also have a juice extractor and like to get a lot of nutrients from fruits and vegetables this way. Using beetroot juice is best when it is combined with other juices. No matter which other vegetables you combine them with, the bright red color of the beets always stands out.


I try to get my kids to eat a wide variety of foods and like to introduce new foods to them as often as I can. Beets are one of those vegetables that I just never think about.

I remember the smell of beets cooking when I was growing up. They don't have a very good smell when they are being cooked. I also think you lose a lot of the nutrients this way. The only way I really like eating beets is raw.

Two of my three kids will also eat beets, and I think I will plan on trying to grow beetroot in our garden next spring. Growing and harvesting vegetables like beets that have a lot of antioxidants is another great way to introduce your kids to the benefit of vegetables.


I am very fascinated by the use of beets and cancer treatment programs. This makes me realize that so many of the fruits and vegetables we have available to us are so good for us. To think that they can actually be used to help with cancer treatment is just another reason we should include beets in our diet.


I have never cared for the taste of beets and have a hard time understanding how anyone can enjoy eating them. My mom would always serve them with a special meal on a relish tray with other vegetables.

They have such a pretty bright red color that you think they will have a wonderful sweet taste. I remember the first time I took a bite of a beet thinking it would have a sweet taste like this. I don't know what my facial expression looked like, but I was quite shocked at the taste.

I think I ended up spitting it out and not even swallowing the first bite I took. My husband, on the other hand, loves the taste of beets, but he never gets them at home because I never buy them.

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