The Truth About Beetroot Juice
Most lists of nutritious super foods don't include beet juice, but according to recent research it belongs right up there with salmon and blueberries. Beet juice deserves a spot on the list because it may boost stamina to help you exercise longer, improve blood flood, and reduce blood pressure.
Emerging studies suggest that beet juice (also known as beetroot juice) is one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants and nitrates that may improve blood pressure and blood flow throughout the body, including the brain, heart, muscles, and more.
Role of Dietary Nitrates
Like most fruits and vegetables, beets contain nitrates and antioxidants that can have a beneficial effect on health.
Beet juice research is in its infancy, says Wake Forest researcher Gary Miller, PhD. “We are starting to unravel the intriguing health benefits of beet juice primarily because of dietary nitrates and its impact on blood flow and blood pressure," Miller says.
Through a chain reaction, the body converts the nitrates in beet juice into nitric oxide, a compound that enhances blood flow throughout the body and helps lower blood pressure.
Beet Juice Promotes Heart Health and Blood Flow
A diet rich in beet juice may be a natural approach to help lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Nutrition experts have long recommended diets rich in fruits and vegetables to promote heart health and help lower blood pressure.
Although there is not a substantial amount of research on beets, a 2001 study showed the antioxidant nutrients may prevent oxidative processes that contribute to the onset of certain degenerative diseases, says John Cuomo, PhD, of Usana Health Sciences, which makes nutritional supplements. The study states that "red beet products used regularly in the diet may provide protection against certain oxidative stress-related disorders in humans."
In other studies, drinking about two cups of beet juice daily or taking nitrate capsules reduced blood pressure in healthy adults, suggesting that dietary nitrates have a beneficial effect on blood flow and could be a natural approach to reducing the risk of heart disease.
Nitrates Boost Exercise Performance
Beet juice can also have a positive effect on the body during exercise. A recent study showed six days of beet juice enhanced overall physical performance and heart functioning during exercise.
In a 2009 study, researchers found nitrates enabled people to exercise up to 16% longer because of nitrates' ability to reduce oxygen uptake, making exercise less tiring.