Betalin compounds such as betanin are pigments that give beets their red/purple color.
About 10-15 percent of people cannot break down the betanin pigment found in beets. If you’re one of this group, the pigment might show up in your urine or stool. This could be quite alarming, as some people will think that they have blood in their urine or stool.
Pay attention to this, so if it happens to you, you don’t unnecessarily rush off to the ER. This phenomenon is sometimes called beeturia, and is more common in individuals with iron deficiency. So, if you experience beeturia, you may want to consult with your primary healthcare provider and ask about your iron levels. (Don’t start self-supplementing iron without first asking our M.D..)
Well, beets are a great-for-you food. Nutritionally speaking, beets are a great healthy food, and have some great anti-aging properties as well. The roots contain anthocyanin antioxidants and the leaves contain chlorophyll and carotenoids; all good for your health.
Beets also are high in folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese and vitamin C. One cup of boiled beets contains 75 calories, 2.8grams protein, 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C, 34 percent DV for folate, 27 percent DV for manganese and 14 percent DV for potassium.
The take-home message here is, don’t stop eating beets just because you may experience beeturia. Instead, make an appointment with your health care provider and make sure that it is in fact beeturia, and not hematuria (blood in the urine). You may also want to ask your health care provider about your iron status.
Source: Cheryl Forberg, RD