Beetroot ranks high on the list of superfoods everyone should try. From reducing high blood pressure for better heart health to increasing muscular endurance for optimal performance, there seems to be nothing this root vegetable can’t do.
Still, perfection doesn’t exist as beets aren’t without a few flaws, or more accurately, side effects. Depending on the amount consumed and your unique health state, beets can lead to an allergic reaction, red-colored pee and poop, digestive discomfort, and even kidney stones.
Read on to find out more about these beetroot side effects to make sure you don’t end up experiencing them.
1. Beet Allergy
Just like any food, beetroots can cause an allergic reaction in some people. The common symptoms of a beet allergy include:
- Difficulty breathing, throat tightness, or asthma
- Rhinoconjunctivitis, aka hay fever or “sinus,” leads to a stuffy or runny nose, watery or swelling eyes, and sneezing
- Rash, hives, or itchiness
- Fever and chills
- Stomach discomfort or pain
The good news is, beetroot allergy is incredibly rare. To date, only a handful of reports have been recorded in the scientific literature. That said, if you suspect you’re allergic to beets, it’s best to leave this root vegetable out of your diet.
2. Red-colored Pee and Poop
A common beetroot side effect is beeturia. This is when your urine and poop turn different shades of red, ranging from pinkish-red to reddish-black. Needless to say, the blood-like color is enough to give anyone a scare!
Before you fret about it, take comfort in knowing that it’s simply the betacyanins at work. These pigments are present in beetroots, giving the root veggies their reddish-pink hue. About 10-14% of people who consume beets will experience beeturia, making it a pretty common side effect. Although beeturia isn’t a medical cause for concern, you can always request a blood test from a licensed healthcare provider for peace of mind.
Want to stop scaring yourself every time you visit the bathroom? Simply cut beets out of your diet. You can also increase your water intake to flush the pigments out of your body more quickly.
3. Bloat, Cramps, Gas, and Diarrhea
If you experience gastrointestinal discomfort in the form of bloating, cramps, gas, and even diarrhea after consuming beets, it could be that your gut isn’t a fan of this root veggie.
The culprit would be the high FODMAP content of beetroots. If you’re new to the term, FODMAPs are a group of sugars and sweeteners that stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.
Because the gut doesn’t absorb FODMAPs well, most of these substances reach the small intestine, where they ferment to produce gas. This leads to bloat, cramps, stomach pain, and diarrhea. FODMAPs also encourage bacterial overgrowth in the gut.
Thankfully, this beetroot side effect is only likely to happen to people with a pre-existing digestive issue — think irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). In other words, beet consumption may not trigger bloating, gas, and other digestive discomforts in healthy individuals. What’s more, FODMAP-rich foods like beets are necessary for good gut health as FODMAPs are a food source for beneficial gut bacteria.
4. Kidney Stones
There’s such a thing as consuming too many beets. In case you didn’t know, beetroots contain a high level of oxalate, a type of antinutrient that binds to calcium. Eating too many beets may prevent your body from absorbing the calcium that’s needed for optimal bone health. The unabsorbed calcium in your system is then used to create calcium oxalate stones, commonly called kidney stones.
That said, not everyone falls prey to this beetroot side effect. Research explains that dietary oxalate (for example, the oxalate you get from beets) may not have a huge impact on kidney stone formation. Interestingly enough, getting more calcium through your meals can act as a form of immunity against kidney stone formation to some extent.
To err on the side of caution, avoid beets if you have a history of kidney stones. But if you’ve never experienced kidney-related health issues, including the recommended amount of beets in your diet may not always put you on the dangerous path to unwanted kidney stones.
Beet the Side Effects With Zen Principle’s Organic Beetroot Powder
For all its side effects, beetroots are still a superfood with a wealth of health benefits. The trick is to consume beets the right way.
For starters, eat this root veggie in moderation to reduce the risk of beeturia, digestive issues, and kidney stones. (Check out our post on “How much beetroot powder should you take?”)
Also, if you have an underlying health condition like IBS or a history of kidney stones, speak with a licensed healthcare professional to decide if adding beets to your diet will be a wise move or not.
Those who have the green light from their primary doctor — or aren’t allergic to beets — may want to check out Zen Principle’s Organic Beetroot Powder.
Compared to beet juice powder that’s usually high in sugar and nitrates, our beetroot powder is made from whole beets. This means it has the same nutrient profile as the root veggie in its natural state. As such, you get the fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals without a disproportionately high amount of nitrates that may inflate your risk of kidney stones.At Zen Principle, we only use whole, organic beets sans additives to give you the goodness nature intended. To reap the full benefits of beetroot without its side effects, keep to the recommended serving size of six grams (roughly two teaspoons).