Can you eat beet skin? (+ 5 health benefits)
In this brief article, we will answer the question “Can you eat beet skin?” with an in-depth analysis of the benefits and side effects of eating beet skin. In addition to this, we will also talk about how you can safely eat beet skin.
Can you eat beet skin?
Yes, you can eat beet skin. Beet skin is edible and safe to eat, it contains dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. However, some people may prefer to peel the beetroot to remove any dirt or potential residual pesticides. If you choose to eat the skin, it is essential to thoroughly wash it to remove any impurities before consumption (1,2).
What are the benefits of eating beet skin?
Rich in nutrients
The skin of beet holds important vitamins like vitamins C and certain B vitamins that support your immune system and energy levels. Minerals such as potassium and manganese can be found in the skin too, which are essential for various bodily functions (2).
Beet skin contains antioxidants called betalains, specifically betacyanins and betaxanthins. These compounds not only give beets their vibrant color but also offer additional health benefits. Betalains have been associated with anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce inflammation in the body (3).
It’s worth mentioning that the potential health benefits of betalains from beet skin are promising, more research is needed to fully understand their mechanisms and effects in the human body.
Betalains also possess antioxidant properties, which can help protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Studies have shown that the amount of betalains in beet skin is higher than in the flesh (4,5).
According to studies, beet skin extract has antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and Salmonella typhi (6).
Rich in fiber
Beet skin is actually a great source of dietary fiber, it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are both beneficial for our digestive system. The soluble fiber found in beet skin can help regulate blood sugar levels, promote feelings of fullness, and even lower cholesterol levels. On the other hand, the insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, aiding in regular bowel movements and preventing constipation (2,7).
What are the risks of eating beet skin?
When it comes to eating beet skin, the risks are generally quite low. However, it’s important to consider a few factors, for example, pesticide residues that could be present on conventionally grown beets, so it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly (8).
Some people may have allergies or sensitives to compounds in beet skin, although this is uncommon.
One specific compound that can cause risks is oxalate. Oxalate is naturally present in many plant-based foods, including beets, and can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in susceptible individuals. However, it is important to understand that the risk is typically low, and most people can consume beet skin without any adverse effects (9,10).
It’s worth considering that consuming excessive amounts of fiber from beet skin can have some potential risks. When you consume in excess, it may cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea in some individuals. Also, individuals with certain digestive disorders or conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), may need to be cautious with high-fiber foods like beet skin, as they may trigger symptoms (11,12).
Be aware of the presence of mold or bacterial contamination. Beetroot like any vegetable can harbor bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli, which can cause foodborne illness. In addition, molds like Botrytis cinerea can also be present on the vegetable’s surface, some species of mold can procure mycotoxins that are harmful to human health (13,14).
How can you safely eat beet skin?
To safely eat beet skins, first wash them to remove any dirt or pesticide that might be lingering on the skin (15). If you enjoy raw beets, just scrub them well, trim the tops and roots, and slice or grate them into your salads.
If you prefer cooked beets, you can leave the skin on while boiling, steaming, or roasting them. After cooking, the skin may become easier to peel, but it’s perfectly fine to eat it too.
Research indicates that the bioavailability and absorption of betalains from beet skin may vary depending on factors such as food processing methods and individual differences. However, incorporating beet skin, along with the flesh of the beet, into your diet can provide a broader range of nutrients and potentially enhance the beneficial effects of betalains (16).
It’s all up to your preference. Just remember to clean properly before consuming, and you’re good to go.
How can you store beet skins?
To store beet skins, first ensure that they are clean and free of any dirt or impurities. Then you can transfer the beet skins into an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag. Try to squeeze out as much air as possible, as exposure to air can lead to quicker spoilage (17).
Store the container or bag in the refrigerator, preferably in the crisper drawer or cool area. With this method, you can normally keep the beet skins fresh for a couple of days. However, it is recommended to use them sooner rather than later to enjoy their optimal flavor and nutritional value (17).
In this article, we have answered the question “Can you eat beet skin?”. We discussed the health benefits and side effects of eating beet skin. In addition to this, we also talked about how you can safely eat beet skin.
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