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Is beetroot OK before bed?

Beetroot, also known as beet, has become a popular superfood due to its nutritional benefits. Some of the health benefits of beets include improving blood flow, lowering blood pressure, and increasing exercise performance. With the rise in popularity of beets, many people are now consuming them at all times of the day – including before bed.

Beetroot Nutrition

So what exactly are the nutritional components that make beetroot so beneficial? Here is an overview of the main nutrients found in beets:

Nutrient Per 1 Cup Raw Beets % Daily Value
Calories 58 3%
Protein 2 grams 4%
Carbohydrates 13 grams 5%
Fiber 4 grams 14%
Vitamin C 6 mg 10%
Folate 109 mcg 27%
Manganese 0.3 mg 14%
Potassium 449 mg 13%

As you can see, beets provide a variety of important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Some of the most significant include:

  • Nitrates – Beets get their red color from pigments called betalains, which also contain nitrates. Nitrates help improve blood flow and may lower blood pressure.
  • Fiber – Beets are high in fiber, which supports healthy digestion and makes you feel full.
  • Folate – Also known as vitamin B9, folate is essential for cell growth and development.
  • Manganese – This mineral is needed for nutrient absorption, bone health, wound healing, and metabolism.
  • Potassium – Crucial for heart health, muscle contractions, and nerve signaling.

Benefits of Beetroot

Research has uncovered a number of potential health benefits linked to eating beets regularly. Here are some of the top evidence-based benefits:

  • Lower blood pressure – Beets are rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide – a compound that relaxes and dilates blood vessels, leading to lower blood pressure.
  • Improve exercise performance – By increasing nitric oxide levels, beets enhance blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles, boosting endurance.
  • Support heart health – The nitrates and other nutrients in beets may reduce inflammation, prevent blood clot formation, and protect arteries.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects – Betalains found in beets have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Detoxification support – Beets promote detoxification by enhancing phase 2 liver detox enzymes responsible for filtering and eliminating toxins from the body.
  • Anti-cancer potential – Early studies indicate beetroot extracts may help inhibit growth and spread of prostate, breast, and colon cancer cells.

These are just a handful of the many potential ways that eating beets can benefit your overall health and wellbeing.

Potential Downsides of Beetroot Before Bed

Despite the nutritional benefits of beets, there are some potential downsides to consider with consuming them in the evening and close to bedtime:

  • Beeturia – Eating beets can cause beeturia, which turns urine and stools pink or reddish in color. While harmless, some people dislike this side effect.
  • Kidney stones – Beets have high oxalate content. For those prone to kidney stones, eating beets before bed may increase kidney stone risk.
  • Blood sugar spikes – Beets are high in sugar. Eating them before bed can spike blood sugar when insulin sensitivity is lower at night.
  • Digestive issues – Some people may experience bloating, gas, and indigestion from eating beets due to the high fiber content.
  • Sleep disruption – Beets contain some natural nitrates that may provide a stimulatory effect and make it harder to fall asleep.

While these side effects don’t happen for everyone, they are something to be aware of.

Tips for Eating Beets at Night

If you want to eat beets as an evening snack or part of your dinner, here are some tips to minimize potential downsides:

  • Have beetroot at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to prevent disruption to your sleep cycle.
  • Start with a small serving of beets to assess tolerance.
  • Select boiled or roasted beets which are lower in oxalates.
  • Pair beets with protein, fat or fiber to blunt blood sugar spikes.
  • Avoid drinking large amounts of water after eating beets at night to reduce color changes in urine.
  • Consume probiotic foods like yogurt to promote healthy digestion of high fiber foods.
  • Check with your doctor if you have kidney issues or are prone to kidney stones.

Beetroot Supplements Before Bed

Another option is taking a beetroot supplement before bed to get the benefits without some of the potential digestive or sleep disruption. Here are some things to consider with beet supplements:

  • Take 2-3 hours before bedtime to allow absorption and prevent sleep issues.
  • Start with lower doses around 500mg and increase slowly to assess tolerance.
  • Look for fermented beetroot supplements which may be easier to digest.
  • Avoid formulas with added sugars, artificial ingredients, or fillers.
  • Pair with magnesium or calcium supplements which may enhance absorption.
  • Drink plenty of water which can help flush out color compounds and prevent staining.

As with any new supplement, consult your healthcare provider before starting to discuss potential drug interactions and safety for your individual health.

Recipes with Beetroot for Evening Meals

Here are some nutritious and delicious recipes containing beets that can be part of a pre-bedtime dinner:

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

  • Ingredients: beets, goat cheese, arugula, walnuts, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • Instructions: Roast sliced beets in the oven. Assemble salad with arugula greens, goat cheese, and walnuts. Drizzle with vinaigrette of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Quinoa Beet Bowl

  • Ingredients: cooked quinoa, roasted beets, kale, chickpeas, feta, avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • Instructions: Toss quinoa with massaged kale, roasted beets, chickpeas, feta, and avocado. Make dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over bowl.

Beet and Carrot Slaw

  • Ingredients: raw grated beets, grated carrots, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, chopped dill, salt and pepper to taste
  • Instructions: Grate beets and carrots. Toss with apple cider vinaigrette, olive oil, dill, and seasonings.

These nourishing salads and bowls make the most of beets’ nutrients while limiting sugar content and avoiding heavily processed foods before bed.

The Bottom Line

Beetroot is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that provide a wide array of health benefits. However, beets do contain high amounts of sugar and certain anti-nutrients that may cause side effects in some individuals when consumed before bed.

By combining beets with fiber-rich whole foods, having them earlier in the evening, and starting with small servings, most people should be able to take advantage of beets’ nutrients as part of a pre-bed meal or snack.

Additionally, beet supplements or low-sugar beet powders can provide concentrated nutrition without unwanted effects on sleep or digestion. Speak to your doctor if you have any medical conditions or take medications that could interact with beets.

Overall, adding beets to your plate, even at dinner, can be a healthy choice when done mindfully. Their unique combination of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can support your wellbeing.