The phenomenon is definitely scary, but not necessarily dangerous.  

By Corey Williams
Updated: May 30, 2019
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Disclaimer: While pink or reddish urine after ingesting beets is usually nothing to worry about, visit your doctor if you’re worried or if it happens frequently—discolored urine is also a symptom of more serious health problems.  

Listen, I’m no psychic—but I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you probably just had a rather alarming experience in the bathroom. Pink beet pee (a term I just made up) can be an unwelcome surprise if you haven’t experienced it before.

But don’t worry: You’re probably just fine, and you’re definitely not alone. About 10-14 percent of the population is affected by beeturia (pink or red urine after ingesting beets) according to one study.  

What Is Beeturia?

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Beeturia is what smart people call pink beet pee. It’s caused by betanin, the compound in beets that gives them their signature red color. When you eat beets, betanin travels to the kidneys, where it is flushed (pun not intended) from the body. Some people have trouble breaking down betanin, and that’s why their urine takes on a pinkish hue. And it’s not just urine—betanin can affect the color of your poop, too.  

Related: Why Does Asparagus Make Your Pee Smell?

Why Do Some People Have Pink Pee After Eating Beets and Not Others?

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Remember that study (you know, from a few paragraphs ago) that found that 10-14 percent of the population is affected by beeturia? That same study found that 66-80 percent of the affected people were suffering from undiagnosed iron deficiency anemia—when your blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to different parts of the body.

Iron Deficiency Symptoms

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Along with pink urine after ingesting beets, symptoms of anemia include:

  • Fatigue
  • Unusually rapid heart beat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Leg cramps
  • Insomnia

Beet Recipes

WATCH: How to Make Easy Pickled Beets

Again, I’m not psychic—but I really doubt you’re craving beets after reading all about beeturia. On the off chance that you are, however, we’ve got you covered:

Roasted Beet-and-Citrus Salad with Honey-Orange Vinaigrette

Hasselback Beets with Tangy Dill Sauce and Caraway

Crispy, Sweet Air-Fried Beet Chips

Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes

Easy Pickled Beets

Check out 32 more easy and delicious beet recipes here.

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