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Health Benefits of Pickled Beets

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 20, 2020

Pickled beets are beets that have gone through a pickling or fermentation process. Pickled foods are preserved in an acidic solution, then sealed in a sterile jar or can so they won’t spoil.

Beets are often pickled in a solution of vinegar, sugar, and salt. Some pickled beets are also pickled with cloves. The type of pickling solution used will affect the flavor of the pickled beets produced.

Pickled beets can be used in meals in place of fresh beets. They are deep magenta in color, and their bright color livens up the appearance of any meal. People often eat pickled beets in salads to add a tangy, earthy flavor. Pickled beets can also be served on their own as a side dish.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of pickled beets haven't been studied as extensively as the health benefits of beets and beet juice. That said, there is evidence that eating pickled beets positively affects your health.

Blood sugar health

The vinegar used to pickle beets might help with blood sugar management. Vinegar reduces blood sugar levels after meals.

Cancer prevention

Some studies have shown that pickled beets may help protect against cancer. Pickled beets contain the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum. In laboratory studies, Lactobacillus plantarum attacked oral cancer cells and leukemia cells.

Digestive health

The probiotics in pickled beets may help ease digestive problems. Probiotics found in fermented vegetables are known for improving intestinal health.Health Benefits

Disease prevention

More research is needed, but pickled beets may help prevent certain inflammatory diseases. The flavonoids found in pickled beets are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to reduce inflammation and help boost your immune system.

Nutrients per Serving

A half-cup of pickled beets contains: 

Pickled beets also contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of potassium, calcium, and iron. The micronutrient content of pickled beets varies depending on how the beets were processed.

Because pickled beets are fermented, they are rich in probiotics. Probiotics are "friendly bacteria" present in your digestive system. Probiotics can help improve some digestive illnesses and conditions.

How to Prepare Pickled Beets

You can buy pickled beets at some grocery stores, or you can pickle beets on your own at home. No special preparation is required for pickled beets. You may eat them directly out of the jar! Most people eat pickled beets chilled or at room temperature.

Here are some ways you can incorporate pickled beets into your diet:

  • Serve pickled beets as a side dish sprinkled with a little feta cheese.
  • Add pickled beets to your favorite salad.
  • Chop pickled beets and combine them with cabbage, carrots, garlic, and vinegar to make a tangy garnish.
  • Slice pickled beets and layer with hardboiled eggs to make a pickled beet sandwich.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

BioImpacts: "Lactobacillus plantarum Induces Apoptosis in Oral Cancer KB Cells Through Upregulation of PTEN and Downregulation of MAPK Signalling Pathways."

Biotechnology Research International: "Fermented Fruits and Vegetables of Asia: A Potential Source of Probiotics."

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice: “Vinegar consumption can attenuate postprandial glucose and insulin responses; a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials."

Exploratorium: "What is Pickling?" 

International Journal of Molecular Science: "Home-Processed Red Beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) Products: Changes in Antioxidant Properties and Bioaccessibility."

Journal of Applied Microbiology: "Effects of Concentrated Supernatants Recovered from Lactobacillus plantarum on Escherichia coli Growth and on the Viability of a Human Promyelocytic Cell Line."

Journal of Integrated Medicine: "Probiotics and Disease: A Comprehensive Summary—Part 9, Cancer."

Journal of Nutritional Science: Flavonoids: "An Overview."

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