Beets are an extremely healthy root vegetable, but most people either love them or hate them. Using beet root powder made from dried beet roots is a great option for people who aren't beet fans but still want the benefits.
Beet root powder contains traces of many nutrients but its primary beneficial compound is betaine. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM), betaine helps liver function, cellular reproduction and aids in the creation of carnitine in the body. It also plays a role in helping the body metabolize the amino acid homocystine.
Betaine supplements are created as a by-product of sugar beets. UMM states on its website that betaine may help the following health conditions:
- Heart disease: Because high homocystine levels are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, using betaine to lower the levels may reduce the risk of developing heart disease. However, UMM is careful to caution that betaine may also increase cholesterol levels. Depending on your specific circumstance, taking betaine to prevent heart disease may not be beneficial.
- Homocystinuria: Betaine supplements are used to treat homocystinuria, a genetic condition that causes high homocystine levels in the body.
- Liver disease: Animal studies showed betaine may help prevent fatty deposits in the liver. While some human studies have been performed, UMM states these studies were not high quality and more research is needed.
- Dry mouth: A study on 40 adults determined that using a group of dry mouth products (toothpaste, mouth rinse, mouth spray and gel) which contained betaine, olive oil and xylitol is safe and effective for dry mouth caused by polypharmacy (the use of two or more drugs to treat a condition).
WebMD states that the nitrate content in beets may help support blood flow, stamina and lower blood pressure. However, studies were performed using beet juice and not beet root powder. As a result, it's unclear whether or not beet root powder would produce the same results.
There are few side effects associate with beet root powder, although a small percentage of people report reddish colored urine, known as beeturia. When other side effects do occur, they are likely related to betaine. According to Drugs.com, potential betaine side effects include:
- Stomach upset
- Body odor
UMM indicates that people with kidney disease or those who take drugs for kidney disease should avoid betaine in any form. This includes ingesting beet root powder or eating raw or cooked beets.
In addition, beets are high in oxalates. A high oxalate diet may lead to an increase risk of developing kidney stones, according to the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences.
Some organic cosmetic manufacturers use beet root powder or extract to add natural tint to their products. If you enjoy creating homemade beauty products, you can do the same.
Beet root powder adds light to dark red-violet tints to water or oil based homemade products. Try this homemade lip stain recipe from Mother Earth Living.
Use in Foods
You may not know it but you've likely already eaten beet root powder. It's a common ingredient in spaghetti sauces, tomato products and salad dressings. Beets are very high in natural sugars and beet root powder adds an earthy sweetness to foods and beverages.
Approximately one teaspoon of beet root powder is equivalent to one average size beet. Check out these ways to reap its benefits:
- Add to smoothies
- Use in protein shakes
- Add to raw juices
- Tint frosting or homemade candy
- Add to cakes, muffins or cookies
A Versatile Vegetable
Whether used in cooking or cosmetics, beets are one of the most versatile vegetables available. But if you don't like their taste or the hassle of preparing them fresh, the powdered form is a great alternative. As with all natural ingredients, be sure to purchase beet root powder from a reputable source such as Mountain Rose Herbs to ensure you receive a high quality, pure product.
Before using beet root powder to treat any medical condition, please consult your physician.