Beetroot Juice May Boost Heart Function
Recent research has suggested that beetroot may have sports nutrition benefits, due to the nitrate concentration of the vegetable. Now a new study has found that drinking nitrate-rich beetroot juice for 15 days may improve heart function and delay the onset of fatigue when exercising in healthy adults.
Participants in the study included 14 healthy men with an average age of 21. Over the course of 15 days they were given either 70 ml of nitrate-rich beetroot juice or a control in the form of nitrate-depleted beetroot juice. This was followed by a two-week washout period, after which the participants crossed over to the other group.
The participants took part in progressive cycling exercises at a 30%, 60%, and 90% workload before supplementation and after supplementation in order to assess the effect of the juice on workouts.
The researcher found that blood levels of nitrites and nitrates were increased in the nitrate-rich beetroot juice group. Participants who drank the nitrate-rich beetroot juice had a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure at rest and during exercise when compared with the control. Additionally, endothelial function was improved by more than 5% following the 15 days of supplementation.
During exercise in general, the researchers noted reduced systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and mean arterial pressure in the enriched beetroot juice group when compared with the control. They also found that rate pressure product was decreased during the 30% workload and that CO increased. This suggests that oxygen delivery was enhanced and work of the heart was reduced.
Researchers from Kyung Hee University in Korea and the University of California at Davis conducted the study. It was published on June 15, 2015, in the American Journal of Physiology.
Beetroot juice is packed with nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, amino acids and calcium. It has been associated in previous studies with lowering blood pressure, improving digestive health, boosting stamina and combating liver problems.