With rich, earthly flavors and vivid hues, cooked beets and beet juice both help you reach the U.S Department of Agriculture's recommended 2.5 or 3 cups of vegetables each day. While they both provide vitamins and minerals, beets and beet juice boast slightly different nutritional profiles. As a result, eating cooked beets offers some health benefits over drinking beet juice, and vice versa. Incorporate both foods into a balanced diet to support life-long health.
One of the major benefits of cooked beets over beet juice is their fiber content. A 1-cup serving of boiled beets contains 3.4 grams of dietary fiber, approximately 14 percent of the daily fiber intake requirements for women or 9 percent for men. Beet juice, on the other hand, contains no fiber, because all the fiber is removed during the juicing process. Fiber helps you feel full after your meal, so a serving of cooked beets will keep you satisfied longer than an equivalent serving of beet juice. Fiber also benefits your health, lowering your cholesterol and preventing digestive disorders.
Beet juice offers more minerals per serving than cooked beats, and is an especially rich source of potassium and magnesium. Potassium plays a role in muscle contraction, helping to keep the muscle tissue in your heart and digestive tract healthy and functional, while magnesium supports energy production and nourishes your kidneys. A cup of beet juice contains 878 milligrams of potassium and 62 milligrams of magnesium -- 19 percent of your daily potassium requirements, and 20 percent of the daily recommended intake of magnesium for women or 15 percent for men, according to the Institute of Medicine. A cup of cooked beets, in contrast, contains just 518 milligrams of potassium and 39 milligrams of magnesium.
Beet juice also contains more vitamin C and folate per serving than cooked beets. Drinking a cup of beet juice boosts your vitamin C intake by 13 milligrams -- 14 percent of the recommended daily intake for men or 17 percent for women -- while a cup of cooked beets contain just 6 milligrams. Likewise, a serving of beet juice contains 294 micrograms of folate, or three-quarters of the recommended daily intake, according to the Institute of Medicine; cooked beets offer just 136 micrograms per cup. Folate supports good mental health and plays a key role in brain function, while vitamin C nourishes your blood vessels, skin, bones and teeth.
Beets contain beneficial compounds called nitrates, and beet juice serves as an especially rich source of these nutrients. Consuming nitrates benefits your cardiovascular health by helping to lower your blood pressure, and improves cardiovascular performance during exercise, reports a study published in the "American Journal of Physiology" in 2013. While beet juice provides enough nitrates to offer health benefits, simply consuming foods rich in nitrates -- such as cooked beets -- does not seem to have the same effect, according to a study published in "Nutrition Research" in 2012. Opt for beet juice to reap the cardiovascular benefits of nitrates.
- USDA ChooseMyPlate: How Many Vegetables Are Needed Daily or Weekly?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Beets, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Beets, Cooked, Boiled, Drained
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Magnesium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-9 (Folic Acid)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- American Journal of Physiology: Effects of Short-Term Dietary Nitrate Supplementation on Blood Pressure, O2 Uptake Kinetics, and Muscle and Cognitive Function in Older Adults
- Nutrition Research: Plasma Nitrate and Nitrite are Increased by a High-Nitrate Supplement but not by High-Nitrate Foods in Older Adults
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.