Being vegan, I try to eat as many vegetables I can possibly can, while also diversifying the type of vegetables I eat on a day-to-day basis.
One of the vegetables I end up eating once in a while are beetroot leaves, mainly because I purchase beetroot in local markets, and since the leaves are naturally attached to the beetroots, I feel like it would be a tremendous waste to throw them away, so I eat them.
You can eat beetroot leaves as they’re completely edible and safe to eat, and you can prepare them as you would other similar leaves like kale and spinach. I usually steam kale, spinach, and beetroot leaves, because I usually eat these foods whenever I’m on an extremely healthy pattern, but I’m sure you can also prepare them in different ways.
I’ve done some research on beetroot leaves and I found both benefits and drawbacks associated to them, which is why in this article I’m going to speak a bit about both.
Benefits of Eating Beetroot Leaves
Like many vegetables, I eat beetroot leaves because they’re extremely healthy. This is because they contain different vitamins and minerals that produce certain effects in our body. Additionally, they also contain nitrate and antioxidants, which are also known to produce impressive benefits.
Before I speak directly on these benefits, let me show you the nutrients in one cup of beetroot leaves, which I’ve sourced from the USDA’s official website:
|Carbohydrates:||1.6 grams (1.4 grams being dietary fiber)|
|Sodium:||85.9 mg (3% DV)|
|Potassium:||289.6 mg (8% DV)|
|Vitamin A:||48% DV|
|Vitamin C:||19% DV|
Beetroot leaves are particularly rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and also contain iron, calcium, and magnesium, which are crucial for any varied diet.
For someone like myself who follows a vegan diet, beetroot leaves are extremely important as they’re among the few calcium sources I have at my disposal outside calcium-fortified drinks and vegan yogurts.
These combination of nutrients will provide you with several benefits.
Boost in immunity: Beetroot leaves are high in vitamin C, which means they support and boost immunity. Vitamin C is crucial in helping fight off cold and flu viruses, and it’s a highly recommended vitamin during the cold season.
Lowers blood pressure and boosts cardiovascular function: Beetroot leaves have high levels of nitrate, which the body converts to nitric oxide. This helps improve blood health and lower blood pressure. From the information I’ve gathered, nitrates also help increase oxygen levels and improve cardiovascular function.
Healthy eyes and skin: Beetroot leaves contain both vitamin A and leutin, which are both important for improving eye health. For instance, I found a study that shows that giving people (over the age of 50) a supplement that includes beta-carotene reduced their risk of developing advanced macular degeneration. In addition, lutein can also prevent age-related macular disease.
Healthy bones and teeth: Calcium and magnesium along with vitamin D and vitamin K are important for keeping the bone strong. Beetroot leaves contain both calcium and magnesium, so they contribute to bone health, preventing diseases like osteoporosis. Like I said, eating dark leafy greens like this one is crucial for vegans and one way of avoiding conditions caused the lack of those minerals.
Improves digestive health: One of the reasons the vegan diet is touted to have many health benefits, is because it’s high in dietary fiber, which is known to improve digestion and chronic constipation.
Improves blood health: Beetroot leaves also contain iron. Without iron, your body cannot produce enough of a substance in red blood cells that allows them to carry oxygen. By eating beetroot leaves, you can prevent anemia.
Reduces the risk of several diseases: Like other fruits and vegetables, beetroot leaves also have antioxidants, which may be able to reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer. They fight against free radicals and prevent them from accumulating around the cells and causing oxidative damage.
Drawbacks of Eating Beetroot Leaves
Yes, I bet that after hearing about the benefits, you didn’t think there weren’t any drawbacks to eating beetroot leaves, but there might be a few drawbacks from eating dark leafy greens, not just beetroot leaves.
Ever heard of oxalate? Oxalate is a small molecule found in plant foods but not animal foods. Our bodies produce oxalate as a result of metabolism, but there’s no use for it, so we excrete it through urine or feces.
However, if you consume high amounts of oxalate, you can experience adverse effects. Even though I love dark leafy greens, I don’t excessively eat a lot of them because they may lead to adverse effects such as:
Increased risk of kidney stones: Estimates show that 1 in 10 people get kidney stones, but you have people that are at more risk than others. When you consume a lot of oxalate, you increase the chances of oxalate binding to calcium, forming kidney stones.
Low mineral absorption: Because oxalates binds to minerals like calcium, it can prevent their absorption, which means your body would be lacking in certain essential nutrients. However, they don’t completely block absorption and our bodies only absorb a small part of the nutrients we consume anyway.
With that being said, dark leafy greens like beetroot leaves are so nutritious, and you shouldn’t remove them from your diet, and like everything else, you should consume them moderately.
FAQs about Beetroot Leaves
Can Dogs Eat Beetroot Leaves?
Beetroot leaves eaten in adequate amounts are as beneficial for dogs as they are for humans because they carry a lot important vitamins and minerals. However, you shouldn’t feed them to your dog on a daily basis. Only 25% of your dog’s diet should be comprised of vegetables, so just make sure you keep that in mind.
Are Beetroot Leaves Poisonous?
No, unlike rhubarb leaves, beetroot leaves are safe and completely edible. They also carry a lot of beneficial nutrients that support the regular functioning of your body, and may potentially prevent some diseases.
Can Beetroot Leaves be Eaten Raw?
While beetroot leaves can be eaten raw, but because they’re very fibrous, it’s not something your digestive system can easily break down. By cooking fibrous foods like dark leafy greens, you’re making them more digestible.