The Midlife Health Benefits of Beetroot

Beetroot has been touted as being one of the healthiest vegetables with many health benefits relevant to my fellow midlife women.

Here in Australia and the UK, we call the taproot section of the beet plant beetroot but in North America, this has been shorted to just beets. Both the leaves and the root of the beet plant can be eaten. Like all other root vegetables, the beetroot is a storehouse of natural sugars for the plant and tastes sweet, whereas the leaves have a bitter taste. There are significant nutrition differences between the 2 parts of the plant. Today I’m focusing on the root.


The medicinal use of beetroot dates back to Roman times. They consumed them when they wanted to boost their libido, kind of like a prehistoric Viagra. It is reported they also used beetroot for digestive issues and fevers.

During the Middle Ages, they continued using beetroot for digestion but also started using it for cardiovascular health.

Have you heard of the doctrine of signatures? It suggests that like nourishes like. Beetroots themself are heart-shaped with long, artery-like roots. When cut beetroot bleeds a red liquid similar in appearance to blood. It is therefore believed that beetroot may help with the heart, the blood, and the entire circulatory system.


The constituents found in beetroot offer a robust anti-oxidant effect, anti-inflammatory action, and vascular protecting effect.

Beetroot contains:

  • Nitrates (which may convert to nitrite and nitric oxide (NO))
  • Phenolics (including flavonoids, phenolic acid, phenolic amides)
  • Nutrients (Vitamin B, C, Iron, Calcium, Manganese, Potassium)
  • Carotenoids
  • Betalains (these are what give beetroot its rich red colour)
  • Amino acid - tryptophan
  • Phytosterols
  • Phytoestrogens (Isoflavones)
  • Anti-oxidants
  • Fibre


Health Benefits 

Cardiovascular health benefits

  • Beetroot improves endothelial function. The endothelium is a thin layer of cells that line your blood vessels, they help control the movement of your blood, your vascular tone and reduce some inflammatory responses. A 2021 meta-analysis of 27 studies found that beetroot supplementation significantly reduced arterial stiffness and improved endothelial function. Better endothelial function, better circulations, and reduced blood pressure.
  • There is also evidence suggesting it may improve blood lipid levels, optimising cholesterol readings, you can thank the phytosterols for this benefit, as they promote cholesterol excretion.


  • Increased blood flow to the pelvic area may enhance your sex drive and sexual satisfaction but the health benefits don’t end there. Beetroot may also help improve your testosterone levels, improving your libido from a different angle.  


  • Increased blood flow to your brain may play a role in improving cognition. Nitric oxide appears to regulate the release of several neurotransmitters which help improve brain function, and memory capacity and may even reduce your risk of dementia. One mice study found an improvement in Parkinson’s disease by preventing or delaying neural cell death.

Premature aging

  • Betalains are the most abundant component found in beetroot juice, they have significant anti-oxidant capacities. They help to neutralise free radicals and may help prevent premature aging.
  • Betalains increase the production of Sirtuin - 1. This protein has been linked with longevity due to its ability to reduce inflammation (specifically c reactive proteins) and prevent many age-related diseases.

Mental Health

  • Regarding mental health Betalains play a role in helping to reduce both anxiety and depression.
  • It may also play a role in cortisol release, reducing the sensation of stress.
  • Beetroot contains the amino acid Tryptophan. This may help further reduce anxiety and depression as tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin - the happy hormone.


  • The fibre in beetroot can help keep your bowels moving and prevent constipation. Fibre also acts as a prebiotic fuel source to enhance the growth of beneficial digestive bacteria.


  • Beetroot fibre especially when fermented helps modulate the estrobolome, this subsection of the digestive microbiome plays an important role in regulating estrogen metabolism by reducing beta-glucuronidase,  preventing excess estrogen recycling.
  • Beetroot also contains phytoestrogens in the form of isoflavones. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. During menopause, when estrogen levels decline, consuming foods rich in phytoestrogens may help alleviate some symptoms associated with estrogen deficiency, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Athletic ability 

  •  A key area of research for beetroot is improved exercise endurance and performance. The research indicates beetroot helps here via the production of nitric oxide which increases oxygen, glucose, and nutrients to the muscles through increased blood flow. This additional fuel to the muscles helps improve performance with less inflammation and muscle damage plus faster recovery and muscle repair.

Joint Pain

  • As previously mentioned beetroots contain components that lower inflammation, several studies have looked at the link between inflammation and joint pain. One study found that beetroot helped to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis by 33%.

Liver health

  • Beetroots consumption supports liver health in 3 ways. It has hepatoprotective effects, which means it protects the liver from damage, it encourages detoxification and in animal studies improvements in fatty liver have been seen.

Blood sugar

  • Beetroot concentrate has been found to lower meal-related glucose and insulin spikes, helping to normalise blood sugar levels. It is thought to do this by reducing glucose absorption from the intestines.

Immune health

  • Betalains from beetroot have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-protozoal qualities. It is thought that they can permeate these organisms' cellular membranes, resulting in their death. 


  • Betalain extracts from beetroot have shown promising results with these forms of cancer: lung, oesophageal, skin, liver, breast, and pancreatic cancer.
  • Early-stage trials have found that co-administration with chemotherapy medication may reduce side effects - please do not try this at home. If it interests you speak to your oncologist.



  • If you are prone to kidney stones development, I wouldn't overdue beetroot due to the oxalate content. Oxalates are a food-based anti-nutrient that specifically likes to bind with calcium to prevent its absorption. Fermenting your beetroot remove roughly 70% of the oxalate component.
  • Beetroot contains fructans, which is a FODMAP food, that those on a low FODMAP diet should avoid.
  • Consume with caution if you are on blood sugar or blood pressure medication as it may reduce your need for medication.
  • It may turn your urine red. I love that there is a name for beetroot-induced red urine, it's called beeturia. Technically it is the presence of red beetroot pigment in either urine or stool. It is thought about 10-15% of the general population experiences this. If this is you, don't worry it is harmless.


If you would like to consider adding more beetroot to your diet, here are a few ideas.

  • Roast them with your next baked dinner
  • Add either grated fresh beetroot or fermented beetroot to your salads
  • Make dips such as beetroot hummus
  • Consider adding powdered beetroot to your water as a pre-workout drink.


Recipe ideas

Zesty Beetroot  juice


  • 2 x beetroots
  • 1 x ginger pieces (2.5cm)
  • 1/2 lemon (remove the peel)
  • 2 x carrots
  • 1 x apple


Beetroot Soup


  • 3 x beetroots
  • 1 x onion
  • 3 x celery sticks
  • 2 x carrots
  • 3 x garlic cloves
  • sprig of dill
  • 1/2 L vegetable stock


  1. Roast beetroot, onion, garlic, carrot for 30 minutes
  2. In a saucepan, add vegetable stock, dill, and celery to the pan and bring to a boil
  3. Add roasted vegetables and continue to simmer for 10 minutes
  4. Puree soup and enjoy





Sign Up

Stay in touch and get the latest news sent straight to your inbox.