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The Beat on Oxalates in Beets


bunch of beetroot

Beets are a colourful, nutrient-dense root vegetable. They are famous for having many health benefits. These include improved heart health, increased stamina, and potential cancer-fighting properties. But, some individuals need to watch their oxalate intake.


What are Oxalates?


Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds. Many plants, animals, and humans contain oxalic acid. They're not harmful to most people. But, high oxalate levels can cause kidney stones in some people. They do this by binding with calcium in the urine.


The Oxalate Content in Beets


Beets are high in oxalates. These can risk those with a history of oxalate-related kidney stones. The oxalate levels in beets can vary by the part of the plant consumed. For example, beetgreens have more oxalate than beetroot.


Oxalate in Beets Comparison Table


Wondering how beets stack up to similar vegetables? Or looking for something to substitute beets with? Here's a table comparing the oxalate content in beets to other root vegetables. To read the sources go to the Library and look under Oxalate. I am not a medical practitioner, just someone trying to raise awareness.


Type of Root Vegetable

Oxalate Content (mg per 100g)

Source

Beets, boiled, steamed or pickled

Moderate-High: 57 mg

OHF

Carrots, boiled, steamed or canned

Low: 12 mg (raw = 24 mg)

OHF

Turnips boiled, steamed or raw

Low: 3 mg

OHF

Radishes raw

Low: 1 mg

OHF


Health Benefits of Beets


Despite containing oxalates, beets are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Beets are high in folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamin C. They also contain betalains. Scientists have studied these compounds for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


For those who want to enjoy beets without raising their oxalate intake, consider these tips:


  • Enjoy beets in moderation. Balance them with low-oxalate foods in your diet.

  • Cooking methods can affect oxalate content. Boiling beets can reduce their oxalate levels. Some oxalates dissolve in water and can go into the cooking water. Remember to discard the cooking water. One of my favourite beet recipes is a soup.

  • Make sure to eat a balanced intake of calcium-rich foods. Calcium can bind to oxalates in the gut. It reduces their absorption into the bloodstream. This mitigates the risk of kidney stones.

Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is crucial. This is especially true when consuming higher-oxalate foods. Water can help flush out oxalates and prevent kidney stones.


Conclusion


Unfortunately, beets are high in oxalates. But this doesn't mean you need to skip them completely. Be sure to eat them in moderation, eat them with calcium-rich foods and boil them rather than roasting.


For people concerned about oxalate intake, understanding and managing consumption is important. If you have health concerns or dietary needs, consult a healthcare provider or dietitian. Thank you for reading this post.



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