Nitrate-Rich Beetroot Juice Linked to Better Heart Health
Previous research has shown that dietary nitrate may have cardiovascular protective effects. A recent study suggests that drinking nitrate-rich beetroot juice may help improve vascular function as measured by flow mediated dilation (FMD) in people with elevated cholesterol.
Participants in the study included 67 people with high cholesterol who were given 250 mL of either nitrate-rich beetroot juice or a placebo in the form of nitrate-depleted beetroot juice daily for six weeks.
At the conclusion of the study, the nitrate-rich group had an increase of 1.1% in absolute FMD, which represents a 24% improvement from baseline. In comparison, absolute FMD decreased by 0.3% in the nitrate-depleted group. Additionally, the nitrate-rich group had a small but significant decrease of 7.6% in platelet-monocyte aggregates, whereas the placebo group increased by 10%. An increase in plateley-monocyte aggregates can be a marker of increased risk of a coronary event.
Researchers from the Queen Mary University of London conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 25, 2015, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Previous studies have linked nitrate with improved regulation of blood flow, better blood pressure, cellular signaling, glucose homeostasis, and improved tissue responses to low oxygen levels as well as improved cardiovascular health.
In addition to nitrate, 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. While beetroots are perhaps the most popular nitrate rich food, if their taste does not appeal to you, nitrates can also be found in spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cucumber, garlic, pumpkin, radishes, and string beans.