Beets are one of the most versatile vegetables, with a sweet, earthy flavor that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. But not only do beets taste great, they may also offer health benefits, particularly when it comes to kidney health. Studies have begun to explore the potential benefits of beets for the kidneys, including their ability to help lower inflammation and improve kidney function. However, there are risks to consider before adding beets to your diet, such as potential interactions with certain medications. In this article, we’ll explore the potential benefits and risks of eating beets for kidney health. We’ll discuss how beets can be beneficial, which types of people may want to avoid them, and how to incorporate them into your diet safely.
Are Beets Good For Kidneys?
Yes, beets are good for the kidneys! They contain a variety of healthy nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants, that can help support kidney health. Additionally, beets have been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure, which can help protect the kidneys from damage.
Overview Of Beetroot And Kidney Health
- Beets, also known as beetroot, are a type of root vegetable that is closely related to spinach, Swiss chard, and quinoa. They have a sweet and earthy flavor that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Beets are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help support overall health. In particular, they contain high levels of nitrates which may offer beneficial effects on kidney health.
- It is closely related to spinach and quinoa and is a popular ingredient in many dishes. Beets are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also a good source of dietary fiber and plant compounds such as betalains. Betalains are responsible for giving beets their deep red color and may have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Technically, beets are root vegetables, not leafy vegetables. Like carrots and potatoes, beets contain a significant amount of riboflavin, which is a B vitamin that the body uses to make red blood cells. And like other vegetables, beets contain numerous minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that may support kidney health. The vast majority of research on beets has focused on the improvement of glomerular hyperfiltration, which is the abnormal filtering of protein and other components from the blood.
- Proteinuria is the presence of excess protein in the urine, and hyperfiltration is the excessive production of urine. This is a condition that may be associated with kidney damage, and experts believe that beets may improve kidney function. Additionally, beetroot may also possess antioxidant properties that may promote the health of the kidneys.
Health Benefits Of Beets For The Kidneys
- May Improve Glomerular Hyperfiltration – Beets may improve glomerular hyperfiltration, a condition that may be associated with kidney damage. This is due to the effects of beets on the kidneys themselves. When the kidneys are damaged, they secrete proteins into the blood. If too much of this protein is filtered by the kidneys, this may result in kidney damage.
- May Reduce Inflammation – Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection. However, when the overproduction of urine is the result of inflammation, it is called “proteinuria.” Proteinuria is a condition that may be associated with an increased risk of kidney damage. Scientists believe that the high levels of antioxidants in beets may reduce inflammation, which may reduce proteinuria and improve kidney function.
- Promote Healthy Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is a condition in which the blood pressure is too high. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke and may increase the risk of kidney damage. Beetroot may reduce blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and improve kidney health.
- May Support Bone Health – Bone health is an important aspect of kidney health. When the kidneys are damaged, the healthy removal of excess salt and minerals may promote strong bones. Therefore, eating beetroot may promote healthy kidney function and support bone health simultaneously.
Risks Of Eating Beets For Kidney Health
- Beetroot is High in Sodium – Potassium, a mineral that is important for maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure, is found in very low levels in beets. Therefore, beets are high in sodium. Most people should consume no more than 2,300 mg of salt per day, as well as potassium, which may support kidney health. Consuming high amounts of sodium from beets may exceed this recommended amount and increase the risk of blood pressure and kidney damage.
- Beetroot is High in Potassium – Potassium, a mineral that is important for maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure, is found in very low levels in beetroot. Therefore, eating beets may result in decreased levels of potassium in the body, which may increase the risk of heart disease.
- Beetroot is High in Sugar – Beetroots are high in sugar, which may promote metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with heart disease and diabetes. Consuming high amounts of sugar from beetroot may promote metabolic syndrome and increase the risk of kidney damage.
- Beetroot may Interact with Certain Medications – Certain medications, such as oral contraceptives and corticosteroids, may reduce the stomach acidity necessary for the absorption of minerals. Consuming large amounts of minerals from beets may reduce their absorption, and may increase the risk of mineral imbalances that may interfere with certain medications.
Who Should Avoid Beets For Kidney Health?
- People who should consume beets include anyone who desires the health benefits of beets, but who does not have a history of kidney damage or metabolic syndrome.
- Healthy individuals who should consume beetroots include those who desire the nutrients in beets, but who do not have any particular health risks or conditions.
- If you fall into this category, beets are a great source of nutrients that support kidney health. However, they are high in sodium and potassium and may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
- Therefore, if you desire the benefits of beets, but do not have any particular health risks or conditions, consume them in moderation and consult your doctor before doing so.
How To Eat Beets For Kidney Health
- Beets are available year-round, and they can be stored for up to four weeks in the refrigerator. They can be prepared in numerous ways, including steamed, boiled, or roasted.
- Other ways to prepare beets include a beet smoothie, a beet salad, or a beet burger. Beetroot is low in calories, and they contain few carbohydrates.
- They also contain vitamins and minerals that may support kidney health, and they are low in sodium and sugar.
- Therefore, they may be beneficial to those who desire the health benefits of beetroots, but who do not have any particular health risks or conditions.
Potential Interactions Of Beets With Medications
- While beets may promote healthy kidney function, they are also high in sodium and potassium.
- Sodium may interfere with the balance of potassium in the body, which may result in a sodium/potassium imbalance that may interfere with certain medications.
- Potassium may also interfere with diuretics, which are used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.
- Therefore, consuming beets may result in decreased potassium levels in the body and promote an unbalanced sodium/potassium ratio, which could interfere with certain medications.
Beets are a great source of nutrients that may support kidney health. They contain vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, which is important for maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure. Beets also contain a few carbohydrates and are low in sodium and sugar.